Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Publications

3 Gamification of eHealth Business Cases to Enhance Rich Learning Experience

Authors: Kari Björn

Abstract:

Introduction of games has expanded the application area of computer-aided learning tools to wide variety of age groups of learners. Serious games engage the learners into a real-world -type of simulation and potentially enrich the learning experience. Institutional background of a Bachelor’s level engineering program in Information and Communication Technology is introduced, with detailed focus on one of its majors, Health Technology. As part of a Customer Oriented Software Application thematic semester, one particular course of “eHealth Business and Solutions” is described and reflected in a gamified framework. Learning a consistent view into vast literature of business management, strategies, marketing and finance in a very limited time enforces selection of topics relevant to the industry. Health Technology is a novel and growing industry with a growing sector in consumer wearable devices and homecare applications. The business sector is attracting new entrepreneurs and impatient investor funds. From engineering education point of view the sector is driven by miniaturizing electronics, sensors and wireless applications. However, the market is highly consumer-driven and usability, safety and data integrity requirements are extremely high. When the same technology is used in analysis or treatment of patients, very strict regulatory measures are enforced. The paper introduces a course structure using gamification as a tool to learn the most essential in a new market: customer value proposition design, followed by a market entry game. Students analyze the existing market size and pricing structure of eHealth web-service market and enter the market as a steering group of their company, competing against the legacy players and with each other. The market is growing but has its rules of demand and supply balance. New products can be developed with an R&D-investment, and targeted to market with unique quality- and price-combinations. Product cost structure can be improved by investing to enhanced production capacity. Investments can be funded optionally by foreign capital. Students make management decisions and face the dynamics of the market competition in form of income statement and balance sheet after each decision cycle. The focus of the learning outcome is to understand customer value creation to be the source of cash flow. The benefit of gamification is to enrich the learning experience on structure and meaning of financial statements. The paper describes the gamification approach and discusses outcomes after two course implementations. Along the case description of learning challenges, some unexpected misconceptions are noted. Improvements of the game or the semi-gamified teaching pedagogy are discussed. The case description serves as an additional support to new game coordinator, as well as helps to improve the method. Overall, the gamified approach has helped to engage engineering student to business studies in an energizing way.

Keywords: Engineering education, integrated curriculum, learning experience, learning outcomes.

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2 A Case Study on Theme-Based Approach in Health Technology Engineering Education: Customer Oriented Software Applications

Authors: Mikael Soini, Kari Björn

Abstract:

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Degree Programme provides full-time Bachelor-level undergraduate studies. ICT Degree Programme has seven different major options; this paper focuses on Health Technology. In Health Technology, a significant curriculum change in 2014 enabled transition from fragmented curriculum including dozens of courses to a new integrated curriculum built around three 30 ECTS themes. This paper focuses especially on the second theme called Customer Oriented Software Applications. From students’ point of view, the goal of this theme is to get familiar with existing health related ICT solutions and systems, understand business around health technology, recognize social and healthcare operating principles and services, and identify customers and users and their special needs and perspectives. This also acts as a background for health related web application development. Built web application is tested, developed and evaluated with real users utilizing versatile user centred development methods. This paper presents experiences obtained from the first implementation of Customer Oriented Software Applications theme. Student feedback was gathered with two questionnaires, one in the middle of the theme and other at the end of the theme. Questionnaires had qualitative and quantitative parts. Similar questionnaire was implemented in the first theme; this paper evaluates how the theme-based integrated curriculum has progressed in Health Technology major by comparing results between theme 1 and 2. In general, students were satisfied for the implementation, timing and synchronization of the courses, and the amount of work. However there is still room for development. Student feedback and teachers’ observations have been and will be used to develop the content and operating principles of the themes and whole curriculum.

Keywords: Engineering education, integrated and theme-based curriculum, learning experience, student centred learning.

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1 Comparative Quantitative Study on Learning Outcomes of Major Study Groups of an Information and Communication Technology Bachelor Educational Program

Authors: Kari Björn, Mikael Soini

Abstract:

Higher Education system reforms, especially Finnish system of Universities of Applied Sciences in 2014 are discussed. The new steering model is based on major legislative changes, output-oriented funding and open information. The governmental steering reform, especially the financial model and the resulting institutional level responses, such as a curriculum reforms are discussed, focusing especially in engineering programs. The paper is motivated by management need to establish objective steering-related performance indicators and to apply them consistently across all educational programs. The close relationship to governmental steering and funding model imply that internally derived indicators can be directly applied. Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) as a case institution is briefly introduced, focusing on engineering education in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and its related programs. The reform forced consolidation of previously separate smaller programs into fewer units of student application. New curriculum ICT students have a common first year before they apply for a Major. A framework of parallel and longitudinal comparisons is introduced and used across Majors in two campuses. The new externally introduced performance criteria are applied internally on ICT Majors using data ex-ante and ex-post of program merger.  A comparative performance of the Majors after completion of joint first year is established, focusing on previously omitted Majors for completeness of analysis. Some new research questions resulting from transfer of Majors between campuses and quota setting are discussed. Practical orientation identifies best practices to share or targets needing most attention for improvement. This level of analysis is directly applicable at student group and teaching team level, where corrective actions are possible, when identified. The analysis is quantitative and the nature of the corrective actions are not discussed. Causal relationships and factor analysis are omitted, because campuses, their staff and various pedagogical implementation details contain still too many undetermined factors for our limited data. Such qualitative analysis is left for further research. Further study must, however, be guided by the relevance of the observations.

Keywords: Engineering education, integrated curriculum, learning outcomes, performance measurement.

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