Journal of Information Systems Education


Organizational learning and use of IS technologies ranked fifth in a list of 20 critical IS management issues in U.S.A. (Niederman et al., 1991). A very recent study (Kim and Kim, 1999) ranked organizational learning as 13th and IS Education and Training as 14th most important in a list of 30 issues. Globally, this issue ranked first in Hong Kong (Burn et al, 1993); fifth in Singapore (Rao et al., 1987); and sixth in India (Palvia and Palvia, 1992). Knowledge of and skills in the use of software such as word processing, spreadsheet, and database represent the basic computer literacy requirements for end users. Both academic institutions and corporations have been investing significant time and dollars to provide the necessary education in the use of these software products. This paper articulates four approaches - traditional, asynchronous, delayed, and synchronous - to impart computer software education in a group setting. It then describes instruments developed to measure relatively distinct areas of computer software knowledge and skills - memory recall, critical thinking, and computing literacy. Finally, the paper provides an analysis of data collected to compare and contrast the effectiveness of the traditional and synchronous modes for spreadsheet software (Excel) education. The findings are: (a) the traditional mode does not individually contribute to improving memory recall and recognition, or critical thinking whereas synchronous mode does; (b) both traditional and synchronous approaches individually contribute to improving computing literacy; (c) there is no evidence to suggest that either mode is superior in contributing to these improvements, and (d) the end users find the synchronous mode to be more satisfying than the traditional mode for learning spreadsheet software.



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