Accelerated Teaching Methods in Higher Education

Introduction

Accelerated teaching methods are common in higher education. They are employed in teaching accounting and other business subjects. The central mandate of these accelerated programs is on adult learners requiring specialized education and advanced qualification within a limited duration. Prior education, knowledge, and classroom etiquettes constitute the principal provisions of adult learners. They have higher levels of attention and maturity compared to younger ones. They have specific goals and objectives; thus, can go through intensive programs. Students seeking accounting courses may have prior experience in the field. The number of these students is high since they need accounting knowledge for different purposes. This is meant to enable them operate their businesses properly.

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Thus, institutions of higher learning have designed accelerated programs to meet the needs of these students (Yang & Yuen, 2010). These programs provide knowledge in financial accounting and managerial accounting. They focus on taxation, auditing, and information systems. Additionally, they focus on non-profit and governmental accounting. However, studies have not been adequately done to ascertain whether the accelerated programs of teaching are effective in teaching accounting. This paper is a proposal to research various accelerated teaching methodologies and their impact in the learning outcomes. The objective is to determine the effectiveness of accelerated learning methodologies in accounting courses. This is helpful in the justification of the concerned research problem.

Accelerated Teaching Methodologies

Accelerated teaching programs may take the compressed format or the longer format. The compressed format usually takes a shorter time period than the usual 12 weeks. The longer format is characterized by longer class periods of more than the usual 3 hours post graduate class (IRMA, 2010). The extent to which an accounting course is accelerated depends on the nature of the content and the institution. The most common configurations that have been noted in many universities and other institutions are as follows:

  • One week mode, usually taking 5 to 6 days from 8.30 to 4.30 pm
  • 2-3 weeks mode
  • Weekend mode
  • Weekend and evening classes mode
  • 3 hours daily on a continuous basis for about 20 days

Accounting falls in the faculty of commerce and economics. This is the faculty that has intensively adopted the use of accelerated program methods to offer courses. Staff members in this faculty (in different institutions) have experienced intensive teaching methods (Kasworm, 2010). In most cases, ‘half’ subjects are usually offered in finance at master levels. They take the form of day long lessons spread over a period of three weeks. The department of management has courses taught in one or two lessons spread over a period of five weeks. Members of staff in these institutions are experienced in using different teaching formats for intensive programs. The staff at some universities, for example, is able to teach for five consecutive days for multiple undergraduate programs and can also employ the full day debate method of teaching. Additionally, they can use a mixture of the teaching methods that are used in other institutions of higher learning.

Studies that have looked into the use of accelerated programs in offering courses have revealed that there are more than 320 institutions in US. They use accelerated programs (Forest & Kinser, 2002). Bigger number of learning institutions in UK and Canada also employ the use of accelerated programs to offer their courses, including accounting. Most of the business schools in Australia use accelerated programs for both their local and international programs. This indicates the viability of the concerned program when considered in various contexts. In 1991, the Macquarie Graduate School of Management began using the accelerated programs. The accelerated programs of teaching have thus become very popular and widely used worldwide. Some of the advantages of accelerated teaching method include proper time management, better preparation of students and increased motivation. Others are high student concentration in class, high consultation levels, flexibility and high levels of student satisfaction.

Outcomes of Accelerated Programs in Accounting Curriculum

Extensive research has not been executed to determine extensive implications of the mentioned accelerated programs. Much of the research that exists is in the form of students’ dissertations or proceedings of conferences. They are also in the form of faculty reports and unpublished papers. The non-tertiary sector is the main contributor of the available research. In cases where the tertiary sector is the contributor of the research, it is most likely to be on other disciplines and not accounting, commerce and economics. Much of this research usually reveals positive results of the accelerated teaching methods. However, they do not show links between the duration of study, the mode that is adopted in teaching and the outcomes (Wlodkowski & Margery, 2010). These links between the three are what may actually determine the effectiveness of the accelerated methods of teaching and the outcomes. This is a critical provision when considered comprehensively in the context of education with respect to accounting as a business course.

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Most specialists in education field do not believe that the links can be established. Melbourne’s educational specialists contacted have often indicated that the complexity involving success of the methods and the difficulties involved in determining a suitable control group complicate the possibility of knowing the links. What seems certain is that the duration of the format used, whether the traditional longer method or the accelerated method, does not determine the relative effectiveness of the concerned provisions. Factors determining the outcomes of students’ learning are varied. They incorporate the student’s motivation, qualifications of the instructors, and the abilities of the concerned students. The outcomes are also determined by the significance of the material to students, the instructors’ interest and environment among others (Yang & Yuen, 2010). In conclusion, the duration of the program alone and the method employed in teaching are not the determining factors of the outcomes.

Justification: Challenge of Accelerated Programs with Accounting Course

Accounting is a course that requires practical assistance from an instructor; thus, this study is justified with regard to its viability, feasibility, and applicability. The challenge that accelerated learning faces with accounting is that accounting requires rigorous practice by students to enable them fully understand the course. The challenge also emanates from accounting processes complexity and regulations, the short duration offered and the diversity of the topics to be covered in the course (Catanach & Feldmann, 2011). There is also challenge in designing an accounting program that can enable the students to cover all necessary topics in accounting within the short duration of the program. These challenges may be indicators that there is a gap in research regarding the use of accelerated program in teaching accounting. This is a critical provision when considered decisively in the context of research and other relevant provisions. It is important to understand the essence of this research in order to realize its significance.

Conclusions

As claimed earlier, the study is justifiable. The use of accelerated teaching methods in various institutions of higher learning has become very popular. Precisely, accelerated teaching methods mainly target adult learners and have been used in teaching many disciplines including accounting. The program has been designed to meet the needs of students and is usually offered in short duration. However, it is not known how effective these accelerated programs are with regard to accounting. Thus, there may be existence of a research gap. This paper aimed at showing the existence of a research gap and the need for research to ascertain the effectiveness of the accelerated teaching methods in teaching accounting.

Accelerated teaching methods can take a compressed/elongated format. They have been used in almost all disciplines. The methods have been used in the US, UK, and Australia among other countries. However, exhaustive research has not been done to determine the results of their use in various institutions. Much of the research that has been done has focused on other disciplines but not accounting. Further, educational specialists believe that knowing the effectiveness of the use of accelerated methods can be difficult. However, the use of the method with other disciplines has indicated success of the programs. Accounting, however, requires rigorous practice and assistance of the instructors. The use of the methods may not be effective. Thus, more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of accelerated teaching methods when all factors such as the complexity of accounting courses are considered.

References

Catanach, A. & Feldmann, D. (2011). Advances in accounting education: Teaching and curriculum innovations. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

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Forest, J. & Kinser, K. (2002). Higher education in the United States: An encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

IRMA (Information Resources Management Association). (2010). Web-based education: Concepts, methodologies, tools and applications. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Kasworm, C. (2010). Handbook of adult and continuing education. London, UK: SAGE.

Wlodkowski, R. & Margery, B. (2010). Teaching intensive and accelerated courses, instructions that motivates learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Yang, H. & Yuen, S. (2010). Handbook of research on practices and outcomes in e-learning: Issues and trends. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

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