Tag Archive: Vocational

How do we teach usability? An investigation of usability instruction in technical communication (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

This dissertation investigates the curricular implementation of usability instruction in technical communication. Though there are a plethora of publications and studies on usability in technical communication, little discussion focuses on usability instruction in the classroom or its implementation in the curriculum. Thus, this exploratory qualitative research seeks to contribute to a better understanding about technical communication students’ and instructors’ knowledge of and experiences with usability practices in the classroom, the challenges that impacted their usability efforts, and their recommendations on how their efforts could be improved. The study results demonstrate the need for more productive discussion on this issue and for developing more effective strategies for implementing usability in the classroom.

Employee Knowledge Sharing in Work Teams: Effects of Team Diversity, Emergent States, and Team Leadership (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

Knowledge sharing in work teams is one of the critical team processes. Without sharing of knowledge, work teams and organizations may not be able to fully utilize the diverse knowledge brought into work teams by their members. The purpose of this study was to investigate antecedents and underlying mechanisms influencing the extent to which team members share their knowledge with one another. Specifically, this study aimed to examine whether and how team members team identification, psychological safety mediate the effects of perceived disparity on employee knowledge sharing. In addition, this study seek to investigate the moderating effects of transformational team leadership. A correlational design was used to collect and analyze survey data. Data were collected from a cross-sectional sample of 240 Korean employees of for-profit organizations in South Korea. The findings of this study indicated that perceived disparity PD) negatively predicted knowledge sharing behavior KSB). Also, both team identification TI) and psychological safety PS) mediated the relationship between PD and KSB. Furthermore, the strength of the mediated relationships between PD and KSP via TI became weaker or nonsignificant under high transformational team leadership than under low transformational team leadership. However, the strength of the mediated relationships between PD and KSP via PS became stronger and significant under high transformational team leadership than under low transformational team leadership. The findings of this study can provide the conceptual basis for interventions that are designed to promote knowledge sharing within work teams. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, along with limitations of the study and directions for future research.

Does leadership matter? The relationship between leadership characteristics and student achievement in private career colleges (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

This dissertation examines leadership in the private career college sector and examines its relationship to student achievement outcomes in terms of student program completion and employment attainment. The research questions for this study are (1) “What leadership characteristics are exercised by college leaders in private career colleges?” (2) “What leadership characteristics are believed to be important by college leaders in private career colleges?” and (3) “Is there a relationship between the leadership characteristics of leaders within private career colleges and the rates at which students attending those institutions complete their programs of study and attain employment in the field for which they received training?” The study used data collected from surveys distributed to institutional leaders in private career colleges and their institutions’ rates of student program completion and employment attainment. The surveys asked respondents to rate the frequency with which certain leadership characteristics are exhibited and asked respondents to rank those characteristics in order of importance. The survey results were correlated to institutional student achievement outcomes data which demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between leadership and student achievement. College leaders who indicated higher rates of frequency for exhibiting leadership characteristics and were more able to discern the characteristics collectively identified as the most important tended to represent institutions with higher rates of student program completion. In addition, it was found that higher rates of student program completion tend to yield higher rates of graduate job attainment and therefore, it appears that leadership characteristics affect graduate employment indirectly through those actions that affect student program completion.

Does leadership matter? The relationship between leadership characteristics and student achievement in private career colleges (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

This dissertation examines leadership in the private career college sector and examines its relationship to student achievement outcomes in terms of student program completion and employment attainment. The research questions for this study are (1) “What leadership characteristics are exercised by college leaders in private career colleges?” (2) “What leadership characteristics are believed to be important by college leaders in private career colleges?” and (3) “Is there a relationship between the leadership characteristics of leaders within private career colleges and the rates at which students attending those institutions complete their programs of study and attain employment in the field for which they received training?” The study used data collected from surveys distributed to institutional leaders in private career colleges and their institutions’ rates of student program completion and employment attainment. The surveys asked respondents to rate the frequency with which certain leadership characteristics are exhibited and asked respondents to rank those characteristics in order of importance. The survey results were correlated to institutional student achievement outcomes data which demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between leadership and student achievement. College leaders who indicated higher rates of frequency for exhibiting leadership characteristics and were more able to discern the characteristics collectively identified as the most important tended to represent institutions with higher rates of student program completion. In addition, it was found that higher rates of student program completion tend to yield higher rates of graduate job attainment and therefore, it appears that leadership characteristics affect graduate employment indirectly through those actions that affect student program completion.

A qualitative cross-case study of the impact of Louisiana’s Graduate Exit Exam for the Twenty-First Century on high school career education (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

Balancing the demands of the Louisiana Graduate Exit Exam for the Twenty-first Century GEE 21) with state mandated high school career Education is a challenge facing many educators. This study examined the perceptions of selected high school principals, counselors, and department heads from three Louisiana parishes regarding the requirements of the GEE 21 and their impact, if any, on high school students career Education opportunities. The study was a qualitative cross-case design, using narrative non-fiction story method to uncover the experiences, attitudes, and feelings of nine principals, counselors, and department heads in three selected Louisiana parishes. Triangulation of information from interviews, observations, and archival documentation resulted in emergent themes of attitudes toward the GEE 21, the effects of passing the GEE 21, the effects of failing the GEE 21, implementation of the 5-year Plan of Louisianas Career Options Law, the consideration of recent high school reform initiatives, and the implementation of high school career Education. This research was believed to be critical for the education community to begin to closely exam the impact of high stakes testing on high school students post secondary college and career planning and success.

The effects of standards-based communication technology education units on the achievement of selected standards for technological literacy by middle and high school students in technology education (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

At a national level, new instructional units for the middle and high school Technology Education classroom were disseminated and field-tested by the TECH-know Project, the National Science Foundation funded program (NSF). North Carolina State University, the Technology Student Association (TSA), and the Departments of Public Instruction of North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, and Virginia were partnered to create, pilot, revise, and distribute student-centered instructional materials that are based on TSA activities. These activities and curriculum materials were correlated with the Standards for Technological Literacy as identified by the Technology for All Americans Project (ITEA, 2000). Core science, mathematic, and technology Education concepts and principles were identified and embedded into these instructional units. An assessment was developed to determine the effects of standards based education on a purposeful sample of Technology Education classrooms. For the purpose of this study, research focused on the four TECH-know Project’s communication technology education units of instruction. (1) Cyberspace Pursuit is a middle school unit that explores technologies related to the Internet and webpage developments. (2) Digital Photography is a middle school unit that explores the technologies and concepts behind electronic imaging. (3) Desktop Publishing is a high school unit that explores technologies related to digital printing. (4) Film Technology is a high school unit that explores the technology behind digital video and concepts for video production. These four instruments were measured by means of student pretest and posttest content knowledge. Criterion-referenced tests (CRT) were developed within the course of the TECH-know Project’s expert content development and pilot testing. Conclusions on inferential statistical methods on the administered CRT data provided positive results in regards to students’ scores in science, mathematics, and technology content. An analysis of data ascertained the variables that influenced on student’s scores. Conclusions found that the TECH-know instructional materials, gender, and grade level had significant influence on student gains in knowledge of technology, mathematics, and science content. Descriptive statistical methods summarized data collected on student’s access to communication technologies outside the classroom. An analysis of data ascertained the variables that influenced on student’s scores. Conclusions based on analysis of variance for control pretest group in this study found that access to certain communication technologies had significant influence on specific student scores at the control pretest treatment stage and at posttest treatment stage based on grade level, gender, and material content.

Evaluation of virtual reality snowplow simulation training (Education Papers posted on March 22nd, 2013 )

The effectiveness of virtual reality snowplow simulator training for current Iowa Department of Transportation employees was examined. Operators received approximately two hours of training, which included several drives in a driving simulator designed to emulate a snowplow. Performance on a test scenario was compared for operators who had received this training versus those who were trained after the test scenario. Participants also completed a variety of personality and training questionnaires designed to measure personality tendencies, as well as their opinions of training and the realism of the simulator. Responses to these questionnaires were generally positive: operators reported that the features of the simulator mimicked those of a real snowplow, and that they enjoyed all aspects of training. Moreover, several performance differences (e.g., number of collisions, average speed and fuel consumption) were found between trained and untrained operators. They suggest that snowplow simulator training improved the driving performance of trained operators.

Assessment of student perceptions, technology utilization, and technology needs: Naval Staff College, Thailand (Education Papers posted on March 21st, 2013 )

The primary purpose was to investigate student perceptions toward using technology resources at the Naval Staff College NSC)s Computer center. The second purpose was to investigate students technology utilization during their academic year. Thirdly, the purpose was to explore the students needs for additional technology resources. Last, the purpose was to determine the differences of students perceptions and needs based on their technology utilization. The Student Technology Assessment Survey was developed for the specific purpose of this study. By using a purposive sample, responses were received from 106 students during the 2004-2005 academic year. The descriptive statistics revealed that three quarters of Naval students were categorized into the low technology utilization group. The results showed that there were statistically significant differences in technology perceptions among the students with different degrees of technology utilization. There was a statistically significant difference between the Naval students with low and moderate technology utilization on their technology adequacy, but no significant differences on their technology satisfaction, technology concern, and technology needs.

Evaluation of virtual reality snowplow simulation training (Education Papers posted on March 21st, 2013 )

The effectiveness of virtual reality snowplow simulator training for current Iowa Department of Transportation employees was examined. Operators received approximately two hours of training, which included several drives in a driving simulator designed to emulate a snowplow. Performance on a test scenario was compared for operators who had received this training versus those who were trained after the test scenario. Participants also completed a variety of personality and training questionnaires designed to measure personality tendencies, as well as their opinions of training and the realism of the simulator. Responses to these questionnaires were generally positive: operators reported that the features of the simulator mimicked those of a real snowplow, and that they enjoyed all aspects of training. Moreover, several performance differences (e.g., number of collisions, average speed and fuel consumption) were found between trained and untrained operators. They suggest that snowplow simulator training improved the driving performance of trained operators.

Impact of embedded credits on vocational students in Missouri (Education Papers posted on March 21st, 2013 )

This research study compared end-of-the-year exam results between second-year vocational students and Algebra I students. The methodology used in this quantitative study involved an experimental static-group comparison design. Data from the WorkKeys Applied Mathematical Exam was statistically compared between the two groups of students. Identification of this problem was brought to light by the addition of graduation requirements by the State of Missouri. This study attempts to add to the limited research regarding embedded credit course competencies that align with state standards and grade-appropriate. Little or no significant difference in the mean scores was found between the two groups. The results of this study align with results from existing similar studies that were done in comparing vocational mathematics curriculums compared to traditional approach. One important outcome resulting from the study was the discussion between the area vocational technical school and the eight sending schools. In light of recommendations encouraging reform in high school credit requirements in Missouri, this study has value for administrators and educators alike.