Effects and Evaluation of a Pre-School Education Program Using an E-learning System

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					                                                             (IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,
                                                                                                               Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2011

     Effects and Evaluation of a Pre-School Education
           Program Using an E-learning System

   Keiichi Shounai, Masahiko Sugimoto, Hidetaka
                                                                                             Manabu Ishihara
     Kobayashi, Mamoru Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki
                                                                                  Oyama National College of Technology
     Takushoku University Hokkaido Junior College
                                                                                   Oyama-shi, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan
            Fukagawa-shi, Hokkaido, Japan

Abstract—At universities, new students’ scholastic achievements              Among the research comparing the learning effects of
have become more varied because of the university’s increased            online study and classroom study by meta-analysis, one report
entrance ratio. Each university must now work to improve new             suggests that online studies are more effective than classroom
students’ scholastic achievements. This study aims to develop a          study [3]. Therefore, the pre-school education program uses an
system to ensure new students’ scholastic achievements. We               interactive e-learning with a study management function to
implemented the pre-school education program using an e-                 support students scheduled to enter a distant school.
learning system in the three months before entering a university
and investigated the program’s effects. The targets include the              This paper reports on the effectiveness of the pre-school e-
participating and non-participating new students. The                    learning education program as a system that obtains scheduled
investigation data are students’ attendance and question                 entrants’ necessary scholastic achievements.
responses after entering college. Results of attendance and
question response data showed that participating new students                The paper is organized as follows: In Section II, we present
maintained study habits after entering school.                           the results of implementing the pre-school education program;
                                                                         in Section III, we describe the improvement in presenting
    Keywords: e-learning system, pre-school education program,           questions; Section IV describes the effects and evaluates the
question presentation, study habit maintenance, obtain college           results; finally, Section V concludes the paper.
entry requirements
                                                                            II.   EXECUTION OF PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION PROGRAM
                      I.    INTRODUCTION
    Recently, new university student achievement levels have             A. Course content
had a greater gap between high and low student scholastic                   Takushoku University Hokkaido Junior College (hereafter,
achievements due to the increased university entrance rate. In           TJC) accepts new students every April. The department of
the US, the popularization university education has existed for          commerce and economy (hereafter, DCE) accepts
approximately 40 years, and the university entrance ratio                approximately 100 new students every year, including
presently exceeds 60% [5]. In Japan, the university entrance             approximately 20 international students. The DCE prioritizes
ratio in 2010 (all years are fiscal years) reached 56.8%, the            education highly. New students attend the academic skill
highest ever, due to the falling birthrate and an increase the           course to obtain basic knowledge related to junior college study.
number of university sites [6]. Therefore, university education          Therefore, we adopted the academic skill course in the pre-
is difficult for students whose scholastic achievements fall             school education program, and implemented it [9].
below university-level requirements.                                         Students attending lectures must be successful applicants of
    Each university is working on improving new students’                the DCE, passing the entrance exam before December. Fig.1
scholastic achievements. There is a first-year seminar for               shows the study sequence of the academic skill course. This
raising the retention rate of the new students by supporting both        course has three chapters, one per month. All questions
life and study skills [1]. The learning community also partners          originate in the course textbook [10]. The academic skill course
with school personnel and students to ease student adjustment            was designed for the e-learning system Blackboard.
to university life [2]. For scheduled entrants, there is a               Blackboard is the same as the e-learning system that TJC uses.
developing communication skills program based on a                       On the other hand, Blackboard is marketed, and used at a lot of
coordinated agreement between high schools and junior                    universities. Fig.2 is a screenshot of the homepage.
colleges [7]. The development and maintenance of study habits
required for college are important elements of the pre-school
education program [8].

                                                                                                    ISSN 1947-5500
                                                                  (IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,
                                                                                                                    Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2011
                      Study begins
                                                                                 Table 1: Responses for each chapter in 2010
           Chapter 1 “Vocabulary”, Question set 1
                                                                                                                        Unit: people
                                                                           Month Chapter Un-learning Un-answered        Answered
           Chapter 1 “Vocabulary”, Question set 2      January
                                                                            Jan    1                 0             7             15
                                                                            Feb    2                 0             6             16
           Chapter 1 “Vocabulary”, Question set 3
                                                                            Mar    3                 1             4             17

         Chapter 2 “Article reading”, Question set 1
                                                                              Table 1 shows the responses for each section. Most
         Chapter 2 “Article reading”, Question set 2   February            participants completed the question sets for every chapter. The
                                                                           participants maintained this study habit during the program.
         Chapter 2 “Article reading”, Question set 3
                                                                               A problem existed in the implementation results in 2009
                                                                           [11]. The participants had not been understood sufficiently on
                                                                           the objective of the question. To solve this problem, the teacher
                                                                           in charge examined the method of presenting questions [12].
                  Chapter 3 “Note taking”              March               The examination material is determined by implementation
                                                                           results and the attitude survey conducted by the teacher. The
                                                                           pre-school education program using the improved method of
                                                                           presenting questions was executed in 2010 [13]. Section III
                   Study completion                                        describes the details and the effects that improved the question
                                                                           presentation method.
                     Fig.1: The study sequence
                                                                                   III.   IMPROVEMENT OF PHRASING QUESTIONS
                                                                               The teacher in charge described the program as follows.
                                                                           Chapter 1 (Vocabulary)’s problem is that participants did not
                                                                           answered without reading up on a vocabulary. The problem
                                                                           addressed in Chapter 2’s (Article reading) problem is that
                                                                           participants cannot understand questions of increasing
                                                                           difficulty, while Chapter 3’s (Note taking) problem is that the
                                                                           participants could not transcribe the teacher’s narrative.
                                                                               The e-learning system is compatible with multimedia,
                                                                           enabling the questions to use multimedia presentations. Remote
                                                                           study research discusses the use of the multimedia and reports
                                                                           that video presentation effectively supports all forms of
                                                                           education [4]. As a result of the examination, the teacher in
                                                                           charge used multimedia to improve question presentation, and
                                                                           implemented the improvement in 2010.
                                                                              The strategy of the new method of presenting questions is
         Fig.2: Screenshot of the Blackboard homepage                      to add animation to each chapter, explaining each question
                                                                           procedure and intention related to the study method. Fig.3 is an
                                                                           example of explanatory animation of the teacher using Power
                                                                           Point slides.
B. Lecture attendance
    The number of students attending lectures via the e-learning              Then, after the participants had entered school, the attitude
system (hereafter, participants) in 2009 is 22 of 25, and 22 of            survey was conducted to determine their evaluation of the
24 in 2010. The other five people attend lectures by mailing in            course content and questions. The answer format is a five-
the questions.                                                             level evaluation including the intermediate level. The number
                                                                           of attitude surveys collected in 2009 is seven out of eight
    Most of the participants completed the course through the
                                                                           Japanese students and all four international students. The
final question set in each year. After completing lecture
attendance, participants responded to our attitude survey,                 number collected in 2010 is 10 out of 11 Japanese students
giving a high evaluation to the pre-school education program,              and all 10 international students.
which allowed them to envision junior college lectures and was
thus rewarding.

                                                                                                       ISSN 1947-5500
                                                            (IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,
                                                                                                              Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2011
                                                                                             Table 2: Chapter 1 content
                                                                         Question                                                      Avg.
                                                                           Set                                                        Attempts
                                                                                     Reading of Chinese characters.
                                                                             1                                                              31
                                                                                     Meanings of words.

                                                                                     Synonym, Antonym, Idiom.
                                                                             2                                                              30
                                                                                     Relationship between two words.

            Caption of above Power Point Slides
Attention of attending lecture                                               3       Combination of questions 1 and 2.                      30
Grasp the lecture outline
                                                                        When each question is attempted, 10 questions are
     Chapter 3 “Note taking”                                            presented at random.
           Class of lecture form
           Writing as much as possible
           Attention of attending lecture                                Number of
   The blackboard demonstration often shows the outline.                    12                                                2010 fiscal year

             Fig.3: Example of explanatory animation                        10                                                2009 fiscal year

A. Improvement of Chapter 1: Vocabulary                                      6                             5.9
                                                                                                4.0                                   5.0
   The purpose of Chapter 1 is the consolidation of basic                                                  5.3
vocabulary knowledge. Table 2 shows the content of Chapter 1,                4                                                       4.3           3.7
                                                                                                  4.0               3.4
multiple-choice questions. The participant studies by beginning
                                                                             2        2.7                                    2.3
with question set 1and answers repeatedly until achieving
100% mastery all three question sets. In 2010, besides adding
animation, question sets 2 and 3 each received 15 additional                 0
                                                                                 Question Question Question           Question Question Question
questions for a total of 30 questions each. In each set of                        set 1    set 2    set 3              set 1    set 2    set 3
questions, 10 questions were presented randomly.
                                                                                            Japanese students             International students
    Fig.4 shows the average number of participant attempts to
achieve mastery (100% correct) of Chapter 1 in 2010 and 2009,                         Fig.4: Number of trials in Chapter 1
with separate results for the Japanese and international
students. The results reveal a decrease in the number of trials
for Japanese students, from 6.8 times to 2.7 times in question              Table 3 shows the content of Chapter 2. Based on the
set 1, and question set 1’s deviation in Japanese students is           result in 2009, the teacher in charge was able to confirm that
also small in comparison with that in 2009. In the attitude             participants obtained the basic knowledge, but not applied
survey, participants indicated whether the questions for which          knowledge. In 2010, besides the added animation, review
they had studied were presented, and 80% of the students                questions were added between each question set.
evaluated that item positively. This positive evaluation results
                                                                           Fig.5 shows the change of average scores for Chapter 2,
from combining “It applies well” and “It applies somewhat”
                                                                        with separate results for Japanese international students. The
on a five-point evaluation scale (hereafter, points 4 & 5).
                                                                        acceptable score for this Chapter is 60 points or more. The
                                                                        Japanese students’ scores rose in all question sets compared
B. Improvement of Chapter 2: Article reading                            with 2009. In question set 2, it fell below 60 points once.
    The improvement of the question presentation method                 However, the score in question set 3 again met the
affected participants’ approach to each chapter. From the               requirement. However, the international students met the
participant attitude survey results, we find improvement in             requirement only for question sets 1 and 2. In 2010, each
participants’ ability to answer questions after they understand         question set’s deviation in both student groups is also small in
each question’s objective. The following discussion considers           comparison with that in 2009.
each chapter’s improvement effects from the implementation
results and the result of the participant attitude survey.

                                                                                                        ISSN 1947-5500
                                                                           (IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,
                                                                                                                             Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2011
                        Table 3: Chapter 2 content                                    the participant could write the teacher's narrative. Table 6
                                                                                      shows participants’ impressions after improving in Chapter 3.
       Question                                                                       From their impressions, Chapter 3 was useful for participants’
         set                                                                          comprehension of the lecture.
                       From one paragraph or sentence, picking
           1           out assertion, substantiation, and grounds
                       of an argument of the question article.

                       From a six-paragraph editorial article,
           2           picking out assertion, substantiation, and
                       grounds of the argument of the article.

                       From a nine-paragraph explanatory article,
           3           summarize assertion, substantiation, and
                       grounds of the argument of the article.                              Fig.6: Example of the scene in a simulation class

                                                                                                Table 4: Actual note before improvement
  score                                                                                  1. 1750s and 1760s
                                                      2010 fiscal year                   (1) British Industrial Revolution
                                                      2009 fiscal year                   (2) Countries in Europe, Balance of Economical Power
  80            75.0                      72.5                                           (3) The End of the Production with Tools
  70                                      70.0                70.0                       (4) Mass production with Machines
                          56.7    60.2
                                                                          55.0           (5) Technological Innovation in Textile Industry
          64.4            44.3
  40                                                41.3
  30                              30.0                                    30.0                   Table 5: Actual note after improvement
  10                                                                                      1750's: The stage changed from production with tools to
   0                                                                                      mass production with machine due to the Industrial
        Question Question Question          Question Question Question                    Revolution.
         set 1    set 2    set 3             set 1    set 2    set 3
                   Japanese students             International students                   1900's: The Sino-Japanese War in 1894 and Russo-
               Fig.5: Average score change in Chapter 2                                   Japanese War in 1904 , the great achievement happens
                                                                                          in social unrest and the revolutionary movement, such as
                                                                                          water-power generation and flight by Wright brothers,
C. Improvement of Chapter 3: Note taking                                                  etc. It is a great depression now. However, it is
    In Chapter 3, multimedia animation is used in the teaching                            important to have confidence, and to take courage.
materials. Chapter 3 aims to understand the lecture after
entering a junior college. The challenge in this chapter is to
take notes in a classroom simulation. We took six of                                                Table 6: Impressions of Chapter 3
approximately 20 minutes of simulation classes beforehand.
                                                                                           It was a little difficult to write the note bringing the
Fig.6 is an example of the screen of a simulation class. Each
participant chooses one from six simulation classes and                                story in the class together for myself. How to take the note
attends a lecture. After attending the lecture, participants                           was different from junior high school and high school. I
answer the note questions by the description type. After                               want to become accustomed little by little while attending
answering, participants receive the comment by the teacher in                          the class after entrance into a college.
charge of the lecture and end the exercise.                                                                       Impression of Japanese student A
   The animation added to the study method was prepared in                                 I was surprised at how note taking here is different
addition to the simulation class. Table 4 shows an excerpt of a                        from high school. I was uneasy to attend the lecture of the
sample note in English before improvement. This note does                              university. However, my feelings became more relaxed
not capture the teacher’s narrative. The participant is only                           after having attended a lecture.
copying the Power Point slide titles. Table 5 shows the note                                                      Impression of Japanese student B
excerpt in English after improvement. After improvements,

                                                                                                                   ISSN 1947-5500
                                                           (IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,
                                                                                                              Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2011
D. Results of the participant attitude survey                                                       Japanese students
   This section aims to determine the participants’ evaluation                                      International students
of the effect of the improved question presentation method.                                 Vocabulary
The content of the attitude survey is the evaluation of the
course content and the questions.                                                       Article reading

    The question on the class questions is whether they could                               Note taking
be answered after their objectives had been understood. Fig.7
shows the response results. For Chapter 1, 90% of participants                                            0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
evaluated the questions positively. For Chapter 2, opinion was
divided, with 50% of Japanese students giving positive                    Fig.7: Result of the class questions evaluation: “After the
evaluations. For the Chapter 3, 70% of Japanese students and              objective of the question had been understood, it could be
60% of international student gave positive evaluations.                                            answered”
    Next, we investigated the evaluation of course content.
                                                                                                     Japanese students
Fig.8 shows separately the responses of Japanese and                                                                           2009 fiscal year
international students. The survey question asked whether the                      Vocabulary                                  2010 fiscal year
course questions seemed useful. This question is similar in
both years’ investigations; therefore, the survey results are                   Article reading
shown for each year. In 2010, 70% or more of the participants
evaluated all chapters positively. The participants gave
                                                                                   Note taking
Chapter 1 a more positive evaluation in 2010 than they did in
2009. Chapter 1 also obtains the most positive evaluation                                         0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
compared with the other chapters. For Chapter 2, international
students in 2010 increased their positive evaluation by 55
points over 2009’s. In 2010, 70% of international students                                          International students
evaluated Chapter 3 positively, approximately 5% lower than                                                                   2009 fiscal year
that of 2009.                                                                                                                 2010 fiscal year

E. Discussion of question presentation method improvement                      Article reading

    The improvement of the question presentation method
affected participants’ approach to each chapter. From the                          Note taking
result of the participant attitude survey, we find improvement
                                                                                                  0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
in participants’ ability to answer questions after they
understand each question’s objective. In the following                      Fig.8: Result of the evaluation of course content: “The
discussion, we consider the improvement effects in each                                  question seems to be useful”
chapter from the implementation results and the result of the
participant attitude survey.
                                                                            Finally, the learning outcome for Chapter 3 is to be to
     For Chapter 1, question set 1 exhibited a remarkable effect        write the teacher’s narrative, as demonstrated by an actual note.
of the improved question presentation method. The average               The attitude survey revealed the following two points. The
number of Japanese students’ attempts before mastery                    first is that the participants recognized the necessity for taking
decreased from 6.8 before improvement to 2.7 after                      notes. The second is that the simulated lecture decreased one
improvement. The attitude survey results revealed that 80% of           participant’s apprehension about taking notes in school. The
participants evaluated positively whether the questions for             participant acknowledged the necessity of taking notes, and
which they had studied were presented. That is, the participant         envisioned applying the study skills in school.
lowered the number of trials by reading up on a vocabulary
and having answered. In contrast, increasing the number of                 These results confirmed that the improved question
questions presented caused difficulty for international students        presentation method was effective for the participants.
studying Japanese as a foreign language, and so their results
showed that the number of attempts increased from 3.7 to 5.8                 IV.    EFFECT AND EVALUATION OF THE PRE-SCHOOL
for question set 3.                                                                         EDUCATION PROGRAM
    For Chapter 2, the score rose in the questions even where              To confirm the effects of the pre-school education program,
the difficulty increased. In the attitude survey on Chapter 2’s         we investigated the maintenance of participants’ study habits
course content, international students’ positive evaluation             from the course after they entered school. The research
increased from 25 in 2009 to 80 in 2010.                                procedure used their attendance and answer response
                                                                        submission as an index. The research procedure targeted the

                                                                                                         ISSN 1947-5500
                                                           (IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,
                                                                                                             Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2011
course in information education, a course that participants in           Attendance
2009 attend in the first year.                                               rate
A. Effect on attendance situation
    Fig.9 shows the attendance rate divided into the first and
second terms of 15 class sessions each. The attendance rate of                 90%
participants is higher than that of non-participants in both first
and second terms. Fig.10 shows the attendance situation from
the first to the fifth session of this course. Participants’
attendance rate is higher than non-participants’ for each                      80%
session. Participants also maintained high attendance rates in                                             Participant: 11 people
the second term.
                                                                                                           Non-participant: 65 people
B. Effect on question submission                                                                 First term                Second term
    Fig.11 shows the question response submissions in the                    Fig.9: Attendance situation in the first second terms
information education course. Each question is an application
of the course content to personal computer software. The
students answer the questions via the e-learning system. Each               Attendance
lecture presents a question, with a one-week deadline for                       rate
answer submission. All participants’ submission rates are
better than the non-participants’ for all questions.

C. Evaluation of pre-school education program
    In the present study, the effectiveness of the pre-school                   90%
education program using an e-learning system is examined.
Effectiveness is measured on the results achieved before and
after college entrance. The evaluation method is to compare
the participants’ college performance results with those of
non-participants in 2009.                                                                                     Participant: 11 people
                                                                                                              Non-participant: 65 people
    Participants’ attendance at school demonstrated their
maintenance of the program’s study habits, and participants’
attendance rate was higher than that of the non-participants in                              1         2          3        4            5
the information education course in college. Specifically,                                                  Times of class
participants had zero absentees during the measurement period,                     Fig.10: Attendance to the fifth iteration
the first five sessions. Two strategies of effective preparation
may explain why the participants maintained their study habits.
The first is that participants’ mediated transition from high
school to junior college study habits. The second is that they            Submitting
acquired their study habits through continuous practice for
three months before college entrance. In contrast, after non-               100%
participants enter college, they cannot follow the course
content and, therefore, decrease their willingness to study. The             90%
clear differentiator is the participants’ sufficient preparation
for college-level studies.
    The participants also become familiar with the process of                80%
understanding questions, submitting answers, and receiving
                                                                                                                 Participant: 11 people
instructor feedback by using program’s of the e-learning
system, which is the same as the that of the college, before                                                     Non-participant: 65 people
entering school, receiving a solid preparatory experience.
    The e-learning system does not greatly differ from                       60%
classroom instruction, and reduces the sense of remoteness by                          Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Question 4 Question 5
using presented teaching materials in an interactive virtual
classroom setting. Because remoteness still exists despite                       Fig.11: Results of submitting the questions
using the teaching materials, the following two points become
indispensable. The first is interactivity: the teacher responds to

                                                                                                       ISSN 1947-5500
                                                                         (IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,
                                                                                                                           Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2011
participants’ questions and opinions. The second is the                               [8]    Yukiya Kawanishi, Youchi Niino, Harutoshi Yukawa, Hiroshi
                                                                                             Komatsugawa, “A Case Study of Pre-entrance Education Using e-
learning management system that enables the teacher and                                      Learning,” Journal of Multimedia Aided Education Research 2008, Vol.
participants to confirm the study context. The learning                                      5, No. 1, 2008, pp. 87-95 (in Japanese)
management system and interactivity were used for the present                         [9]    Masahiko Sugimoto, Hidetaka Kobayashi, Keiichi Shounai, Mamoru
study’s pre-school education program. As a result, the                                       Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki, Manabu Ishihara, “Pre-School Education
participants had studied continuously before entering college.                               Program of Takushoku University Hokkaido Junior College using e-
                                                                                             learning System: Execution and problem in the future,” Takushoku
After participants had entered school, they maintained their                                 Universuty, Institute for Research in The Humanities, The Journal of
study habits better than did non-participants. The                                           Humanities and Sciences, No. 25, 2011, pp. 75-96 (in Japanese)
aforementioned results obtained the entrants’ necessary                               [10]   DAIGAKUSEI NOTAME NO MANABI NO TURU Academic skill
scholastic achievements.                                                                     2009 fiscal year edition, Takushoku University, Faculty of Political
                                                                                             Science and Economics, 2009 (in Japanese)
                                                                                      [11]   Masahiko Sugimoto, Hidetaka Kobayashi, Keiichi Shounai, Mamoru
                           V.     CONCLUSIONS                                                Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki, Manabu Ishihara, “Pre-School Education
    The pre-school education program using the e-learning                                    Program of Junior College using e-learning system,” Research Report of
                                                                                             JSET Conferences, JSET10-3, 2010, pp. 71-78 (in Japanese)
system was implemented for students scheduled to enter TJC.
                                                                                      [12]   Keiichi Shounai, Masahiko Sugimoto, Hidetaka Kobayashi, Mamoru
The multimedia contents were used to improve the question                                    Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki, Manabu Ishihara, “Evaluation of a Content
presenting method with animation that explained the intention                                Preparing System for Pre-School Education Program,” Japan University
and procedure for answering questions in the study method.                                   Association for Computer Education, HEISEI 22NENDO KYOUIKU
                                                                                             KAIKAKU ICT SENRYAKU TAIKAI YOKOUSYU, 2010, pp. 216-
Furthermore, the number of questions was increased to                                        217 (in Japanese)
establish participants’ knowledge. As a result, participants                          [13]   Keiichi Shounai, Masahiko Sugimoto, Hidetaka Kobayashi, Mamoru
studied after understanding the questions’ objective, and they                               Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki, Manabu Ishihara, “An Educational Effect of Pre-
studied until the end of the study period. Next, participants                                school Education Program in Junior College Using Multimedia Content
demonstrated the program’s effects after entering school; their                              with e-learning System,” Research Report of JSET Conferences,
                                                                                             JSET11-2, 2011, pp. 17-20 (in Japanese)
attendance question responses indicated maintenance of study
habits, compared with non-participants’ results.
                                                                                          The present research reports outcomes of the research topic
    In conclusion, the pre-school education program using the                         “Evaluation of the Content Preparation System for Learning
e-learning system is effective in obtaining new students’                             Effect Improvement: Pre-School Education Program of
necessary scholastic achievements.                                                    Takushoku University Hokkaido Junior College Using an E-
    In the future, we will evaluate the pre-school education                          learning System,” based on a grant-in-aid for individual
program in fiscal 2010 to clarify the questionable points and                         research in fiscal year 2010 from the institute for research in
validate the evaluation results of fiscal 2009. Resolving the                         the humanities, Takushoku university.
questionable points, we will examine both program’s content
and implementation method.

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