Does One Size Fit All?

Bauer Researchers Look at Online Learning Approach for Diverse Generation of Students

In the wake of a massive global shift to online learning options, educators have sought more information about the effectiveness of various learner interaction methods.

Two C. T. Bauer College of Business Accountancy & Taxation professors, Associate Professor Janet A. Meade and Instructional Associate Professor Kiran Parthasarathy co-authored a study that seeks to answer a critical question: Is a one-size-fits-all online learning approach appropriate for a diverse generation of students?

Associate Professor Janet Meade and Instructional Associate Professor Kiran Parathasarathy

“Do Multiple Learner Interactions Improve Learning for Accounting Students Having Differing Academic Achievement and Demographics?” one of the featured articles in the Business Education Innovation Journal, provides instructors with information that could improve online learning outcomes.

Meade and Parthasarathy, who is also the Faculty Director for Principles of Accounting courses at Bauer, previously studied how academic improvement is linked to two types of online learner interactions: Learner-content (proxied by the viewing of instructor-created videos) and learner-instructor (proxied by the correctness of real-time polling responses).

The two found that students who increased both types of learner interaction after the COVID-19 shift to virtual instruction in Spring 2020 obtained final exam scores that were, on average, more than 10 percent higher than students who decreased both types of learner interaction. Compared to students who increased only one type of learner interaction, those who increased both learner interactions attained scores that averaged almost 3 percent higher.

The current paper examines whether prior academic achievement and differing demographics impacted the types of learner interaction chosen by online introductory accounting students, and whether the choices made by these students led to improved learning outcomes.

The researchers’ primary finding: “Younger, male, and Hispanic students tend to select learner interactions that result in suboptimal learning, whereas Asian students and those with higher GPAs or financial aid optimize their learning by selecting multiple interactions.”

The insight provides evidence that educators should include multiple learner interactions in their courses and encourage students to take advantage of multiple learning aids.