Assessment of Learner Characteristics

A Brief Description of the Population

The population of students that would be subjected to the given instructional topic are students who have enrolled for the “Essentials of Small Business” course taught at the first year level in the Marketing Diploma at X University. This course is also offered in other programs and students from those disciplines are also enrolled with this course either as an elective or a requisite course. The population of the class is 34 students. Some basic statistics of the class is presented below.

 

Data type Findings

(Note – the percentages given are rounded)

Source
Age range 22 to 30 years   – 80%

31 to 36 year   – 20%

Student   statistics collected on the first day using index cards.
Geographical   area of residence Richmond – 76%

Outside   Richmond – 24%

Home address from   the class list
Gender Males     – 60%

Females – 40%

Visual count,   class list
Employment   Status (Overall) 100% Student   statistics collected on the first day using index cards.
Primary   Program of Registration Marketing   Diploma – 60%

Entrepreneurial   Degree – 30%

Non Business Programs   – 10%

Class list
Ethnicity Chinese Origin   – 60%

South Asian   Origin – 20%

Other – 20%

Visual count   and based on names of students.

This class represents a typical mix of students in a first year course at Kwantlen. I have had three classes with them so far. For a typical class about 60% actively participate in classroom discussions. A relatively young group of students.

Characteristics Identified, Rationale and Source.

The following table will highlight the specific information that was planned to be collected for this assignment from the students.  Also the rationale and the sources included will be presented. Except for one item, all information collected was done on a voluntary basis from the students. All the information provided were not associated with names where none of the information could be traced backed to a particular student.

Characteristics

Rationale

Data collection

  1. Educational Background – The students were asked to   state the highest qualification they have earned so far.
Education   background would play a big role is setting the level for this course. This   would give me some understanding in terms of pitching the course. Questions 1 to   4 were presented to them in power point slides and index cards were given   them to write the answers. The reason being if a questionnaire were to be   administered, I had to get the approval of the REB since this was used   outside the normal realm of work. Students were asked to participate on a   voluntary manner. This was done during class room hours to get an immediate   response. All students were strictly told not to include their names to   protect their identity. 28 students were present when this was done
  1. Work Experience – They were asked to choose from the   following
  2. Entrepreneurial experience
  3. Experience working in a small business
  4. Experience working in a non small business
  5. Part time temporary experience
This would   help me immensely to organize the course content. Students who already have   experience with small business will able to bring in their own experiences   and will be in a better position to relate to some of the specific issues.   Students from non small business environments may need to be exposed to   specific issues
  1. Exposure to Technology – I asked specific questions   as below
  2. Frequency of computer usage
  3. Frequency of internet usage
  4. Being a member of an online  social    network
  5. Use of a computer for work, home, socializing
This was an   important since most of the social networking media are online in nature.   Identifying their level of technology use was important in order to design   the content of the course. Specifically in achieving the second goal in   getting them hands on with a social marketing tool could only be designed   based on this input.
  1.   English as a First/Second language.
An important   criteria in order to determine the nature of assessments and delivery   components.
  1.   Learning Style Inventory – Kolb D (1984) learning   inventory was used.
Learning   styles is an extremely important element in order to design any form of   instruction. This would give me first hand information in deciding my   instructional strategy. Was given to   complete at home and return in the next class.  Received only 6 completed questionnaires.

 

Findings

The findings for the above are as follows.

1)      Educational Background

All students enrolled for this program had their high school diplomas completed. The reason being that for them to enroll into the above identified programs at X University, they had to complete the high school programs. There were about 14% of students who already had a degree. The majority had indicated that they were from non business backgrounds.

2)      Work Experience

The following is the breakdown of their nature of work experience. The percentages do not add up to 100 since there were some students who had worked in several areas.

 

Entrepreneurial   experience 32%
Experience   working in a small business 60% (25% of entrepreneurial   experience also

included here)

Experience   working in a non small business 21%
Part time/   temporary work experience 78%

100% of the students answered had some form of experience. It was interesting to note that 60% had some form of interaction with small business.

3)      Exposure to Technology

 

Frequency of computer usage Daily             – 78%

Weekly          – 10%

Not specified – 8%

Not answered –  4%

Frequency of internet usage Daily             – 57%

Weekly          – 21%

Not specified – 22%

Being a member of an   online  social  network 100% of the audience either had   a page in Face Book or My Space
Use of a computer for work, home, socializing 100% had indicated that they   use a computer for all three purposes.

4)      English as a First/Second Language

53% of the respondent said that they don’t speak English at home and considered treated English as second language. The rest considered English as their first language.

5)      Learning Style Inventory

The conclusion from this is not representative since only 6 had returned the questionnaire. From the ones that it is presented, there learning styles were widely distributed among the four dimensions as identified by Kolb. However there were at least 4 students with very high scores on the concrete experience style. From this sample, these students would appreciate more hands on learning than mere direct instruction. At least 3 students also showed high use of active experimentation style appreciating more pragmatic learning.

6)      Personality and Entrepreneurial Self Assessment Questionnaire

33 students had returned this and due to the length of this, it is not possible to summarize the findings quantitatively. See appendix 01 for an example of this result. In this questionnaire students get an opportunity to understand their entrepreneurial skills and their personality in comparison to a database of entrepreneurs ideal personality. In this example the means scores of this respondent were mostly lower than the average entrepreneur in Canada. On an overall basis about 24% of students received scores above the average mean scores and the rest were below the mean.  This gives me a good idea of some of the areas that I may need to highlight in teaching these sections.

Overall   

As a whole, the findings indicate that the majority of the students have some exposure to small business work experience and as well as are technology savvy. On the language side, since more than 50% of the students consider their first language as not English, this will have to be taken into account in my assessment strategy as well as in developing my instructional delivery methods. The fact that all students have completed their high school and the class is relatively young gives me an opportunity to exploit the topic of discussion in some depth.

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