(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 Kobayashi, Mamoru Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki
Takushoku University Hokkaido Junior College Fukagawa-shi, Hokkaido, Japan

Manabu Ishihara
Oyama National College of Technology Oyama-shi, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

Abstract—At universities, new students’ scholastic achievements have become more varied because of the university’s increased entrance ratio. Each university must now work to improve new students’ scholastic achievements. This study aims to develop a system to ensure new students’ scholastic achievements. We implemented the pre-school education program using an elearning system in the three months before entering a university and investigated the program’s effects. The targets include the participating and non-participating new students. The investigation data are students’ attendance and question responses after entering college. Results of attendance and question response data showed that participating new students maintained study habits after entering school. Keywords: e-learning system, pre-school education program, question presentation, study habit maintenance, obtain college entry requirements

Among the research comparing the learning effects of online study and classroom study by meta-analysis, one report suggests that online studies are more effective than classroom study [3]. Therefore, the pre-school education program uses an interactive e-learning with a study management function to support students scheduled to enter a distant school. This paper reports on the effectiveness of the pre-school elearning education program as a system that obtains scheduled entrants’ necessary scholastic achievements. The paper is organized as follows: In Section II, we present the results of implementing the pre-school education program; in Section III, we describe the improvement in presenting questions; Section IV describes the effects and evaluates the results; finally, Section V concludes the paper. II. EXECUTION OF PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION PROGRAM

I.

INTRODUCTION A. Course content Takushoku University Hokkaido Junior College (hereafter, TJC) accepts new students every April. The department of commerce and economy (hereafter, DCE) accepts approximately 100 new students every year, including approximately 20 international students. The DCE prioritizes education highly. New students attend the academic skill course to obtain basic knowledge related to junior college study. Therefore, we adopted the academic skill course in the preschool education program, and implemented it [9]. Students attending lectures must be successful applicants of the DCE, passing the entrance exam before December. Fig.1 shows the study sequence of the academic skill course. This course has three chapters, one per month. All questions originate in the course textbook [10]. The academic skill course was designed for the e-learning system Blackboard. Blackboard is the same as the e-learning system that TJC uses. On the other hand, Blackboard is marketed, and used at a lot of universities. Fig.2 is a screenshot of the homepage.

Recently, new university student achievement levels have had a greater gap between high and low student scholastic achievements due to the increased university entrance rate. In the US, the popularization university education has existed for approximately 40 years, and the university entrance ratio presently exceeds 60% [5]. In Japan, the university entrance ratio in 2010 (all years are fiscal years) reached 56.8%, the highest ever, due to the falling birthrate and an increase the number of university sites [6]. Therefore, university education is difficult for students whose scholastic achievements fall below university-level requirements. Each university is working on improving new students’ scholastic achievements. There is a first-year seminar for raising the retention rate of the new students by supporting both life and study skills [1]. The learning community also partners with school personnel and students to ease student adjustment to university life [2]. For scheduled entrants, there is a developing communication skills program based on a coordinated agreement between high schools and junior colleges [7]. The development and maintenance of study habits required for college are important elements of the pre-school education program [8].

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

Study begins
Chapter 1 “Vocabulary”, Question set 1 Chapter 1 “Vocabulary”, Question set 2 Chapter 1 “Vocabulary”, Question set 3 Chapter 2 “Article reading”, Question set 1 Chapter 2 “Article reading”, Question set 2 Chapter 2 “Article reading”, Question set 3

January

Table 1: Responses for each chapter in 2010 Unit: people Month Chapter Un-learning Un-answered Answered Jan 1 0 7 15 Feb 2 0 6 16 Mar 3 1 4 17

February

Table 1 shows the responses for each section. Most participants completed the question sets for every chapter. The participants maintained this study habit during the program. 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]. 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 describes the details and the effects that improved the question presentation method. III. IMPROVEMENT OF PHRASING QUESTIONS

Chapter 3 “Note taking”

March

Study completion

Fig.1: The study sequence

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. Fig.2: Screenshot of the Blackboard homepage The strategy of the new method of presenting questions is 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. Then, after the participants had entered school, the attitude survey was conducted to determine their evaluation of the course content and questions. The answer format is a fivelevel evaluation including the intermediate level. The number of attitude surveys collected in 2009 is seven out of eight Japanese students and all four international students. The number collected in 2010 is 10 out of 11 Japanese students and all 10 international students.

B. Lecture attendance The number of students attending lectures via the e-learning system (hereafter, participants) in 2009 is 22 of 25, and 22 of 24 in 2010. The other five people attend lectures by mailing in the questions. Most of the participants completed the course through the final question set in each year. After completing lecture attendance, participants responded to our attitude survey, giving a high evaluation to the pre-school education program, which allowed them to envision junior college lectures and was thus rewarding.

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

Table 2: Chapter 1 content

Question Set 1 2
Caption of above Power Point Slides Attention of attending lecture Grasp the lecture outline Chapter 3 “Note taking” Class of lecture form Writing as much as possible Attention of attending lecture The blackboard demonstration often shows the outline.
Fig.3: Example of explanatory animation

Content
Reading of Chinese characters. Meanings of words. Synonym, Antonym, Idiom. Relationship between two words. Combination of questions 1 and 2.

Avg. Attempts 31

30

3

30

When each question is attempted, 10 questions are presented at random.

Number of trials

12
10 8

2010 fiscal year 2009 fiscal year

A. Improvement of Chapter 1: Vocabulary The purpose of Chapter 1 is the consolidation of basic vocabulary knowledge. Table 2 shows the content of Chapter 1, multiple-choice questions. The participant studies by beginning 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 questions for a total of 30 questions each. In each set of questions, 10 questions were presented randomly. Fig.4 shows the average number of participant attempts to achieve mastery (100% correct) of Chapter 1 in 2010 and 2009, 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 set 1, and question set 1’s deviation in Japanese students is also small in comparison with that in 2009. In the attitude survey, participants indicated whether the questions for which they had studied were presented, and 80% of the students evaluated that item positively. This positive evaluation results from combining “It applies well” and “It applies somewhat” on a five-point evaluation scale (hereafter, points 4 & 5). B. Improvement of Chapter 2: Article reading The improvement of the question presentation method affected participants’ approach to each chapter. From the participant attitude survey results, we find improvement in participants’ ability to answer questions after they understand each question’s objective. The following discussion considers each chapter’s improvement effects from the implementation results and the result of the participant attitude survey.

6.8

6
4 2

4.0 4.0

5.9 5.3

5.0

5.8 3.7

3.4
2.3

4.3

2.7

0
Question Question Question set 1 set 2 set 3 Japanese students Question Question Question set 1 set 2 set 3 International students

Fig.4: Number of trials in Chapter 1 Table 3 shows the content of Chapter 2. Based on the result in 2009, the teacher in charge was able to confirm that participants obtained the basic knowledge, but not applied knowledge. In 2010, besides the added animation, review questions were added between each question set. Fig.5 shows the change of average scores for Chapter 2, with separate results for Japanese international students. The acceptable score for this Chapter is 60 points or more. The Japanese students’ scores rose in all question sets compared with 2009. In question set 2, it fell below 60 points once. However, the score in question set 3 again met the requirement. However, the international students met the requirement only for question sets 1 and 2. In 2010, each question set’s deviation in both student groups is also small in comparison with that in 2009.

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

Table 3: Chapter 2 content

Question set 1

Content
From one paragraph or sentence, picking out assertion, substantiation, and grounds of an argument of the question article. From a six-paragraph editorial article, picking out assertion, substantiation, and grounds of the argument of the article. From a nine-paragraph explanatory article, summarize assertion, substantiation, and grounds of the argument of the article.

the participant could write the teacher's narrative. Table 6 shows participants’ impressions after improving in Chapter 3. From their impressions, Chapter 3 was useful for participants’ comprehension of the lecture.

2

3

Fig.6: Example of the scene in a simulation class Table 4: Actual note before improvement

Average score

1. 1750s and 1760s

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

2010 fiscal year 2009 fiscal year 75.0 56.7 72.5 70.0 70.0 55.0

(1) British Industrial Revolution (2) Countries in Europe, Balance of Economical Power (3) The End of the Production with Tools (4) Mass production with Machines (5) Technological Innovation in Textile Industry

60.2

64.4

44.3 30.0

41.3

30.0

Table 5: Actual note after improvement
1750's: The stage changed from production with tools to mass production with machine due to the Industrial Revolution. 1900's: The Sino-Japanese War in 1894 and RussoJapanese War in 1904 , the great achievement happens in social unrest and the revolutionary movement, such as water-power generation and flight by Wright brothers, etc. It is a great depression now. However, it is important to have confidence, and to take courage.

Question Question Question set 1 set 2 set 3 Japanese students

Question Question Question set 1 set 2 set 3 International students

Fig.5: Average score change in Chapter 2

C. Improvement of Chapter 3: Note taking In Chapter 3, multimedia animation is used in the teaching 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 approximately 20 minutes of simulation classes beforehand. Fig.6 is an example of the screen of a simulation class. Each participant chooses one from six simulation classes and attends a lecture. After attending the lecture, participants answer the note questions by the description type. After answering, participants receive the comment by the teacher in charge of the lecture and end the exercise. The animation added to the study method was prepared in addition to the simulation class. Table 4 shows an excerpt of a sample note in English before improvement. This note does not capture the teacher’s narrative. The participant is only copying the Power Point slide titles. Table 5 shows the note excerpt in English after improvement. After improvements,

Table 6: Impressions of Chapter 3

It was a little difficult to write the note bringing the story in the class together for myself. How to take the note was different from junior high school and high school. I want to become accustomed little by little while attending the class after entrance into a college. Impression of Japanese student A I was surprised at how note taking here is different from high school. I was uneasy to attend the lecture of the university. However, my feelings became more relaxed after having attended a lecture. Impression of Japanese student B

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(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security, Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2011 D. Results of the participant attitude survey Japanese students International students This section aims to determine the participants’ evaluation

of the effect of the improved question presentation method. The content of the attitude survey is the evaluation of the course content and the questions. The question on the class questions is whether they could be answered after their objectives had been understood. Fig.7 shows the response results. For Chapter 1, 90% of participants evaluated the questions positively. For Chapter 2, opinion was divided, with 50% of Japanese students giving positive evaluations. For the Chapter 3, 70% of Japanese students and 60% of international student gave positive evaluations. Next, we investigated the evaluation of course content. Fig.8 shows separately the responses of Japanese and international students. The survey question asked whether the course questions seemed useful. This question is similar in both years’ investigations; therefore, the survey results are shown for each year. In 2010, 70% or more of the participants evaluated all chapters positively. The participants gave Chapter 1 a more positive evaluation in 2010 than they did in 2009. Chapter 1 also obtains the most positive evaluation 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 evaluated Chapter 3 positively, approximately 5% lower than that of 2009. E. Discussion of question presentation method improvement The improvement of the question presentation method affected participants’ approach to each chapter. From the result of the participant attitude survey, we find improvement in participants’ ability to answer questions after they understand each question’s objective. In the following discussion, we consider the improvement effects in each chapter from the implementation results and the result of the participant attitude survey. For Chapter 1, question set 1 exhibited a remarkable effect of the improved question presentation method. The average number of Japanese students’ attempts before mastery decreased from 6.8 before improvement to 2.7 after improvement. The attitude survey results revealed that 80% of participants evaluated positively whether the questions for which they had studied were presented. That is, the participant lowered the number of trials by reading up on a vocabulary and having answered. In contrast, increasing the number of questions presented caused difficulty for international students studying Japanese as a foreign language, and so their results showed that the number of attempts increased from 3.7 to 5.8 for question set 3. For Chapter 2, the score rose in the questions even where the difficulty increased. In the attitude survey on Chapter 2’s course content, international students’ positive evaluation increased from 25 in 2009 to 80 in 2010.

Vocabulary Article reading
Note taking
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Fig.7: Result of the class questions evaluation: “After the objective of the question had been understood, it could be answered”
Japanese students
2009 fiscal year

Vocabulary Article reading
Note taking

2010 fiscal year

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

International students
2009 fiscal year
Vocabulary Article reading Note taking 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 2010 fiscal year

Fig.8: Result of the evaluation of course content: “The question seems to be useful” Finally, the learning outcome for Chapter 3 is to be to write the teacher’s narrative, as demonstrated by an actual note. The attitude survey revealed the following two points. The first is that the participants recognized the necessity for taking notes. The second is that the simulated lecture decreased one participant’s apprehension about taking notes in school. The participant acknowledged the necessity of taking notes, and envisioned applying the study skills in school. These results confirmed that the improved question presentation method was effective for the participants. IV. EFFECT AND EVALUATION OF THE PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION PROGRAM

To confirm the effects of the pre-school education program, we investigated the maintenance of participants’ study habits from the course after they entered school. The research procedure used their attendance and answer response submission as an index. The research procedure targeted the

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(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 rate 2009 attend in the first year. 100%

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 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 session. Participants also maintained high attendance rates in the second term. B. Effect on question submission Fig.11 shows the question response submissions in the 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 lecture presents a question, with a one-week deadline for 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 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. 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 the information education course in college. Specifically, participants had zero absentees during the measurement period, 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 acquired their study habits through continuous practice for three months before college entrance. In contrast, after nonparticipants enter college, they cannot follow the course content and, therefore, decrease their willingness to study. The clear differentiator is the participants’ sufficient preparation for college-level studies. The participants also become familiar with the process of understanding questions, submitting answers, and receiving instructor feedback by using program’s of the e-learning system, which is the same as the that of the college, before entering school, receiving a solid preparatory experience. The e-learning system does not greatly differ from classroom instruction, and reduces the sense of remoteness by using presented teaching materials in an interactive virtual classroom setting. Because remoteness still exists despite using the teaching materials, the following two points become indispensable. The first is interactivity: the teacher responds to

90%

80%

Participant: 11 people
Non-participant: 65 people

70%

First term

Second term

Fig.9: Attendance situation in the first second terms

Attendance rate 100%

90%

80%

Participant: 11 people Non-participant: 65 people
70%

1

2

3 4 Times of class

5

Fig.10: Attendance to the fifth iteration

Submitting rate 100%

90%

80%

Participant: 11 people 70%
Non-participant: 65 people

60%
Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Question 4 Question 5

Fig.11: Results of submitting the questions

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

participants’ questions and opinions. The second is the learning management system that enables the teacher and participants to confirm the study context. The learning management system and interactivity were used for the present study’s pre-school education program. As a result, the participants had studied continuously before entering college. After participants had entered school, they maintained their study habits better than did non-participants. The aforementioned results obtained the entrants’ necessary scholastic achievements. V. CONCLUSIONS

[8]

[9]

[10]

[11]

The pre-school education program using the e-learning system was implemented for students scheduled to enter TJC. The multimedia contents were used to improve the question presenting method with animation that explained the intention and procedure for answering questions in the study method. Furthermore, the number of questions was increased to establish participants’ knowledge. As a result, participants studied after understanding the questions’ objective, and they studied until the end of the study period. Next, participants demonstrated the program’s effects after entering school; their attendance question responses indicated maintenance of study habits, compared with non-participants’ results. In conclusion, the pre-school education program using the e-learning system is effective in obtaining new students’ necessary scholastic achievements. In the future, we will evaluate the pre-school education program in fiscal 2010 to clarify the questionable points and validate the evaluation results of fiscal 2009. Resolving the questionable points, we will examine both program’s content and implementation method. REFERENCES
[1] Wonseok Suh, “The Effect of First-Year Seminar Regarding Students’ Perception on Sophomore Return Rates,” 20th International Conference on The First-Year Experience, 2007 Barbara Leigh Smith, Jean MacGregor, Roberta Matthews, Faith Gabelnick, “Learning Communities: Reforming Undergraduate Education,” Jossey-Bass, 2004 Barbara Means, Yukie Toyama, Robert Murphy, Marianne Bakia, Karla Jones, “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies,” U.S. Department of Education, 2010 Mahmoud Baklizi, Nibras Abdullah, Ali Abdulqader Bin Salem, Sima Ahmadpour, Sureswaran Ramadass, “Multimedia Video Conference Identities Study,” IJCSIS, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2011 Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan, KYOUIKU SIHYOU NO KOKUSAI HIKAKU, Available on: http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/toukei/001/08030520/004.htm, 2011 (in Japanese) Yasuo Tsurumaki, KOKOROZASHI WA SEKAI E-TAKUSHOKU DAIGAKU NO CHOUSEN-, IN TSUSHINSYA, 2010, pp. 24-31 (in Japanese) Riko Ozao, Yoshitaka Ito, Toshiyuki Iwasaka, Kanako Takahashi, Midori Fujisawa, Akihiro Sato, Mitsuru Hara, Yutaro Seki, “Pre-School Education Program for Developing Communication Skills,” Research Report of JSET Conferences, JSET10-2, 2010, pp. 77-80 (in Japanese)

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Yukiya Kawanishi, Youchi Niino, Harutoshi Yukawa, Hiroshi Komatsugawa, “A Case Study of Pre-entrance Education Using eLearning,” Journal of Multimedia Aided Education Research 2008, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2008, pp. 87-95 (in Japanese) Masahiko Sugimoto, Hidetaka Kobayashi, Keiichi Shounai, Mamoru Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki, Manabu Ishihara, “Pre-School Education Program of Takushoku University Hokkaido Junior College using elearning System: Execution and problem in the future,” Takushoku Universuty, Institute for Research in The Humanities, The Journal of Humanities and Sciences, No. 25, 2011, pp. 75-96 (in Japanese) DAIGAKUSEI NOTAME NO MANABI NO TURU Academic skill 2009 fiscal year edition, Takushoku University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, 2009 (in Japanese) Masahiko Sugimoto, Hidetaka Kobayashi, Keiichi Shounai, Mamoru Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki, Manabu Ishihara, “Pre-School Education Program of Junior College using e-learning system,” Research Report of JSET Conferences, JSET10-3, 2010, pp. 71-78 (in Japanese) Keiichi Shounai, Masahiko Sugimoto, Hidetaka Kobayashi, Mamoru Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki, Manabu Ishihara, “Evaluation of a Content Preparing System for Pre-School Education Program,” Japan University Association for Computer Education, HEISEI 22NENDO KYOUIKU KAIKAKU ICT SENRYAKU TAIKAI YOKOUSYU, 2010, pp. 216217 (in Japanese) Keiichi Shounai, Masahiko Sugimoto, Hidetaka Kobayashi, Mamoru Fujita, Satoshi Kotaki, Manabu Ishihara, “An Educational Effect of Preschool Education Program in Junior College Using Multimedia Content with e-learning System,” Research Report of JSET Conferences, JSET11-2, 2011, pp. 17-20 (in Japanese)

The present research reports outcomes of the research topic “Evaluation of the Content Preparation System for Learning Effect Improvement: Pre-School Education Program of Takushoku University Hokkaido Junior College Using an Elearning System,” based on a grant-in-aid for individual research in fiscal year 2010 from the institute for research in the humanities, Takushoku university.

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[5]

[6]

[7]

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