“Action Accounting”: Untying the Accountancy Knot

Frances Boylan, Tom Kiely

Dublin Institute of Technology

At Higher Education level, many students appear to experience difficulty with accounting. Indeed, from a student perspective, programme modules with a high numerical content often become the bane of student life, with accounting being perceived as “dull”, “difficult,” “uninteresting” or “something to be avoided”.  This perception in turn may lead to a lack of engagement, and ultimately to a sense of isolation for the student, culminating in poor exam performance and non completion of the programme. In addition to this form of disengagement, other students may exhibit specifically learning difficulties that makes the traditional format for teaching and learning accountancy extremely challenging. This teaching and learning problem has been flagged by a cross faculty team at the Dublin Institute of Technology, including accountancy lecturers, members from learning support and learning technology, and student representatives, who have collectively adapted a collaborative strategy in addressing this challenge. 
The result, “Action Accounting,” is a suite of interactive elearning support exercises to make the learning of accountancy more enjoyable and effective for students. Ultimately, the aim is to help students untie their ‘accountancy knot’. Methodologically, the development team have taken an action research approach, wherein, incremental development of the final product has been influenced both by our own experiences and by student feedback. 
 The objective of this presentation is to outline our work to date, to briefly demonstrate the current version of the elearning tools for financial accounting, and to consider areas for future development.  Broadly speaking, the benefits of this research will increase the variety of strategic learning resources available to the student and in doing so, should facilitate and integrate the accommodation of different learning styles among challenged students. These broad benefits will be of particular relevance to students who find the traditional lecture setting difficult or who lack confidence with numerical content.  A more specific and measurable suite of benefits could include the improvement of examination performance in the subject, and ultimately the reduction of retention attrition among first year students.

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