Conceptualization of technological advancement education essay

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Today, as the technology is available and relatively user-friendly to every aspect, there is no reason for the world of pedagogy to be isolated from its blessings. Educational institutions should embrace it in order to ensure the learners' pace in the race for up-to-date knowledge and skills. As stated by Jarvis (2000), the cutting edge knowledge has turned the learning society into futuristic and reflexive (cited by Olaniran and Agnello 2008). The learning approaches are aimed to develop individual capabilities which are qualified to become part of the global market. People are willing to change in align with and adapt quickly to the technological world. Thus, educational technology is essential to stay connected to the sources of knowledge.

Regardless the sources, it is the process of learning to reach the source and gain the knowledge (Chaharbaghi and Cripps, 2006). In shifting the emphasis from knowledge to learning, there will be an alternative thinking about intellectual capital who has the potential of unveiling "what", "how" and "why". Van de Meer-Kooistra and Zijlstra (2001) once pointed out that human knowledge and experience is the main element to make sense of intellectual capital (cited by Wang and Chang 2005). Therefore, human capital will enjoy a strong rhetorical appeal in supporting the artificial intelligence provided by technological advancement. Without intellectual capital, the advancements are claimed to be nonfunctional.

Similarly, educational technology on its own does not lead to effective learning because only the pedagogical guidance from intellectual capital can revive the spirit in technology. The limitations can be well illustrated when world hunger, organizational protest and family crisis will never be solved by technological advancements (Postman 1992, cited by Olaniran and Agnello 2008, p. 77). In essence, the prospect of effective learning is rosy when there is a good integration between technological advancement and intellectual capitals in the world of pedagogy.

Research Objective

My research objective is to examine whether technological advancement can result in effective learning among the learners. Besides, this research is also aimed to identify to what extent the roles of intellectual capital have contributed in supporting the technological advancements to create effective learning.

Research Questions

There are three main questions in respect of this research:

Does technological advancement provides good sources and tools for effective learning?

Does contributions of intellectual capital in handling the technological advancement necessary to create effectiveness in learning?

What are the challenges faced in employing and relying on intellectual capitals?


Technological advancement provides good sources and tools for effective learning.

The contributions of intellectual capital are necessary to supplement the technological advancement in achieving effective learning.

Technological Advancement and Effective Learning

Conceptualization of Technological Advancement

Technology has become the integral part underpinning activities in different field of endeavor and thus each profession may pose different definitions for technological advancement. Adopting the definition made by Burgelman et al. (2004), technological advancement is the tangible resulted from the theoretical and practical knowledge, skills and artifacts (cited by Smith and Shariff n.d.). Reflecting in terms of education, technological advancements such as computers, internet, overhead projectors and other educational technologies are becoming important learning tools to improve educational quality.

In a learning environment, technology acts as a helpful tool that provides opportunities for students to interact productively and widen their field of knowledge beyond the textbooks. It can be effectively utilized to provide just-in-time information that learners require regardless when and where (Yam 2002). This has eventually created learning in the forms of computer-based learning and distance learning. Network connectivity using broadband and satellite is so powerful to make the learning effectively in a connected world.

Conceptualization of Effective Learning

According to Wang (2002), learning occurs in the form of education, discovery, experience and experiment to make knowledge in a meaningful and valuable context. It is an approach that should involve two parties in disseminating information and acquiring knowledge. So, mental and physical engagement in learning is important to create effectiveness (Salter 2003).

Living in this reflexive society, as identified by Jarvis (2000), learning will never come to an end because society eager to change with requirements of the global world (cited Olaniran and Agnello 2008). In this case, educational institutions should never hesitate but be able to make a step further to advance the goal of education and society's desire by using technological advancement. For the purpose of this research, three phases of knowledge remarked by Jonassen (1992) and Quinn et al. (1996) will be recognized due to their clear and evidenced studies. They are cognitive knowledge, advanced knowledge and expertise (cited by Wang 2002).

Effectiveness of Learning with Technological Advancements

Technological advancement seeks to improve and enhance the effectiveness of learning through reduction of time spent in accomplishing work, huge storage of information up to hundreds of Giga bytes and also the creation of multimedia to enhance learning experience (Mowat 2002, Rose 2009). However, the main consideration is that to what extent the world is in making the effort to implement technological advancements for the mutual goal of effective learning. In fact, the proliferation of educational technology policies and implementation plans has been deliberately considered and launched in US (Chang et al. 2008). Evidenced by the prominent US's national reports which are The Goals 2000: Educate America Act (Glennan and Melmed, 1996), Getting America's Students Ready for the 21st Century: Meeting the Technology Literacy Challenge (ED Office of Educational Technology, 2001) and Enhancing Education through Technology: No Child Left Behind (2001), the youngest generation would be well-prepared for the information century (cited by Chang et al. 2008). Referring to Graeme Salter (2003), three learning approaches as below must be enhanced by technological advancements to achieve effective learning.

Learning as knowing

According to Wang (2002), cognitive knowledge is acquired in this early stage of learning when the basic concepts of contents are prepackaged, generalized and simplified. It is knows by understanding rather than memorizing that help learners to acquire knowledge. In this case, digitization initiatives such as illustrating images are claimed to be an aid to understanding (Mowat 2002). With technological advancements, hundreds of thousands of digital images are available in the form of artwork, animation and documentary photograph. Images are powerful to convey the meaning of "a sea of content" in visual terms, helping the learner experience the subject area in a way that is hardly reached by verbal context. This has led Biggs (1999, p.78) to point out that "learning straight declarative knowledge, the stuff of academia, is best done in association with a rich store of images." (cited by Mowat 2002).

Learning as applying knowledge

As stated by Porter and Foster (1998), the quality of learning is questionable when knowledge gained cannot be applied to new or similar situation (cited by Salter 2003). Therefore, the context of learning should be authentic, reflecting the way the knowledge will be useful in the real world. Looking at the recent effort made by OSK Investment Bank Berhad (OSK 2010), Malaysian students who pursue in business and finance are greatly benefited with the online stock trading competition. With technological advancements, OSK created a system allowing participants with a virtual capital of RM100, 000 to trade online based on the actual rules applied in Bursa Malaysia. In this case, technology, similar to other pedagogical tool, provides learners with a stimulating and positive educational experience of investing in the stock market (Barron and Gruber 2008).

Learning as a path to wisdom

Expert knowledge contains webby interconnected knowledge structures that can only be brewed through the accumulation of experiences (Eklund and Sinclair 2000). Therefore, experience metamorphoses the way knowledge is organized, stored and retrieved, which eventually lead to a particular discipline and action. Through global learning network, learners gain knowledge about other cultures, lifestyle, economic and political issues around the world (Coffey 1998). This link to the real world helps learners to see themselves as part of this large community and entitle to commit wise action.

In fact, none of the learners can learn effectively by adopting either one of the approaches because three of them are equally important and should come together as a body. The potential of technological advancements to be part of pedagogical tool is slowly developed throughout the whole world (Paek 2005). In 1990, when Internet was 7 years old, only 3 million people had access to it worldwide. Today, internet users in US alone have reached up to 266.2 million of people (Gbaje 2010). Besides, studies done by Parsad et al., revealed that 93% of US's educational institutions had equipped with Internet access in year 2003 as compared to only 3% in year 1994 which usually through dial-up connection (cited by Paek, 2005). Therefore, it is reasonable to say that technological advancements are endeavoring to achieve effective learning by enhancing the three approaches in learning.

Correlation between Technological Advancement, Intellectual Capital and Effective Learning

Conceptualization of Intellectual Capital

The centrality of intellectual capital (IC) has primarily captured in the business world, but there is also a growing interest in non-profit organizations nowadays. According to Klein and Prusak (1994), IC is defined as "intellectual material that has been formalized, captured and leveraged to produce a higher valued asset" (cited by Secundo et al. 2010, p. 142). Generally, IC comprises three common elements which are human capital, organizational capital and social capital (Leliaert et al. 2003, de Castro and Saez 2008, Cabello and Kekale 2008). However, applying Human Capital Theory, human capital is deemed to be the crucial element underpinning the concepts of IC. This is because people continuous invest in themselves through formal and informal education, promising relevant and up-to-date outputs of knowledge and skills to the organization and society (Nerdrum and Erikson 2001). Therefore, the IC mentioned in this research are particularly referred to human capital.

The Contribution of Intellectual Capital in Supplementing the Technological Advancement to Achieve Effective Learning

Each wave of emerging technology seems to inspire unbridled optimism and confidence that it will solve the world's education problems. However, in the review of the impacts of technological advancements on education made by Clark (1994) and Kozma (1994), there is a need to reconsider the capabilities of technological advancements in achieving effective learning (cited by Yam 2002). Technology in general, do not and indeed cannot result in learning outcomes because it is too generic as instructional artifacts. Thus, IC is recognized as the guiding angle to provide the pedagogical guidance and instruction. Concerning of this correlation, Volery and Lord (2000) pointed that human capital, as the instructor, plays a central role in determining the effectiveness of learning using technological advancements. Among their contributions, instructor's "reach and richness" and "flexibility and integrity" are the major consideration in creating effective learning.

Reach and Richness

According to Weigel (2000), reach refers to accessibility, which means harnessing the technology to achieve the learning content. On the other hand, richness stands for a particular quality of a content which is capable of facilitating human learning (cited by Yam, 2002). This role played by IC is believed to better utilize educational technology in achieving effective learning.

Learning as knowing

Very often learners rely on technical gadgets to solve simple calculations to get immediate and accurate results. In fact, this has led to encroaching their ability to think creatively (Pistone 2010). They also act like an empty vessel waiting to be filled with little knowledge. According to Salter (2003), these people will never success in their learning because memorizing facts and data does not prove anything besides having a huge capacity of memory. Therefore, availability of IC enables learners to tell back things they have learnt by interacting with them. These intellectuals can identify, analyze and justify every answer given by learners which cannot be done by technological advancements alone (Yam, 2002). This is because systems maybe very rigid to a specific input or answer whereas there is usually more than one answer for a question depending on learner's understandability.

Learning as applying knowledge

Through the breeding of technology, WebCT is developed for educational intellectuals to create online courses or simply publish materials to supplement existing courses in related field of studies (Volery and Lord 2000). This program is definitely a gift from technology to those busy executives who desire to move from current career to professional development (Barron and Gruber 2008). Although the course content is available online, pedagogical guidance from intellectuals is of vital to introduce and explain the topics. Referring to Joia (2000), learners can always stay connected to the experts or intellectuals in a particular field using course conferencing system and electronic mail. Having this live interaction and interface on an issue, learners would feel personally involved with an issue and thus enhancing their knowledge in that particular area (Petre and Harrington 1996, cited by Salter 2003).

Learning as a path to wisdom

The archival materials provided by technology incorporated audio, photos, video, scanned handwritten letters and journals of historical individuals or incidents (Barron and Gruber 2008). Therefore, technological advancements are claimed to be resourceful in showing the materials but unfortunately, cannot express the history emotionally to the learners. Human instructors are then important in terms of their personal approach and information-dissemination manner to develop a sense of belonging and engagement such as patriotic regarding the subject (Volery and Lord 2000, Yam 2002). Besides, humanistic technology is of great import nowadays and this can only be achieved by rational education that is based on philosophical treatment coordinated by intellectuals (Rose 2009).

A test conducted using Pearson correlation shows a coefficient of 0.563 with a p-value of 0.001between effective learning and technology. However, a further analysis indicates that IC is the knowledge navigator that appropriately utilizes this neutral tool to achieve effective learning (Volery and Lord 2000). Thus, the contributions of reach and richness provide full support for the learners in learning effectively using technological advancement.

Flexibility and Integrity

Today, the learning society should be well-prepared for the next millennium, to be active to catch the issue and challenges before problems occur (Hill 1999). It is the flexibility of IC to adapt skills and pace in mobilizing the learners to face different situation in the process of effective learning (Rucinski and Bauch 2006, Hill 1999, Davenport et al. 1999). In testing the effectiveness of various teaching style, Principles of Adult Learning Scale (PALS) indicated that the learner-centered teaching style recorded the highest score with a standard deviation of 20 (Conti 1985, cited by McCoy 2006). This shows that technological advancement lack of this ability to achieve effective learning since different people will have different ways in approaching effective learning. Apart from flexibility, a research found that IC has intentionally utilize the educational technology to create effective learning in ways that enable them to manage their integrity of the conflicting identities as educators, professional practitioners and institutional employees (Henderson and Bradey 2008). Again, IC's contribution in terms of flexibility and integrity enhance the learning process through three approaches.

Learning as knowing

Studies show that learners can master a subject area only when they response to a particular forms of learning that suit their personal preferences (Mumford 1999, Gelfand and Riggs 2004). Evidenced by the learning philosophy of Glorie Bobbie, human brain is unique that there is no right or wrong way in approaching effective learning and thus, there cannot be a standardized learning method (Gelfand and Riggs 2004). As oppose to the rigid educational technological advancements, IC "demonstrates the virtues of courage, temperance, generosity, self-control, honesty, sociability, modesty, fairness and justice" to intrinsically motivate and engage various types of learners (Rucinski and Bauch 2006, p. 495). With the educational technologies, IC can tailor learning to the style of the students, whether learning in sequence, parts and language or learning with pictures, space and colours (McCoy 2006).

Learning as applying knowledge

To make learning more effective, IC plays a role in adopting a beneficial and effective method to assess learners. According to Paek (2005), computer-adoptive test (CAT) is highly recommended by educators nowadays to replace the traditional multiple choice testing settings since studies prove that the adoption will not affect learner's performance. The flexibility of IC do not restrict the development of learning methods and approaches in this technological century, but continuously searching ways to better enhance the effectiveness of learning. Besides reducing the consumption of paper, computerized assessment decrease the time to complete a test which eventually avoid learners from a stressful assessment (Barron 2006).

Learning as a path to wisdom

In a study of 476 business students, researchers found that 73.6% of them agree that it is easier to cheat in an online versus traditional course (King et al. 2009, cited by Bailie and Jortberg 2009). To reinforce the academic integrity policies, IC has created series of system and software to overcome this unwise action among the learners (Rucinski and Bauch 2006, Freeman and Thomas 2005). User authentication was primarily created to assure users' identity with their very own IDs and passwords. Yet, it was called out for having much vulnerability and thus, the latest application presents challenge questions based on data managed by the institutions. With this brilliant system, National American University can create 150 to 300 challenge questions per individual when learners enter a "trigger event" such as an exam (Bailie and Jortberg 2009).

The surface approach to educational technology use improves access to learning but without necessarily improving learning itself. Therefore, a thoughtful learning design by IC is essential for learning paradigm. With a good integration between technological advancement and IC, effective learning will never be a miracle to happen. It is eloquently reflected in the ancient Chinese proverb of "Tell me and I'll forget, Show me and I may remember, Involve me and I'll understand" (Mowat 2002, p.8).

Challenges Faced by the Heavy Reliance on Intellectual Capital

It can be a grave mistake to assume that all academic intellectuals who are effective in teaching can successfully make the leap into creating effective learning among the learners without experience and training in handling educational technological advancements (Barron 2006). Knowledge can be learned and applied correctly, but this does not indicate valued learning has taken place. Besides, experts have estimated that the main educational barrier is professional and technical obsolescence in the IC (Rose 2009). Thus, the employment of pedagogical and technical IC is even though advantageous and essential in educational institution (Leliaert et al. 2003), there are still serious hurdles to the heavy reliance on IC to achieve effective learning.

Financial Issues

Self-confidence and competence of educators are known to be affecting their use of technology in instruction. They are anxious and may not exposed to technology training and thus, most probably abort the benefits of technological advancements when they do not require learners to use technology (Deubel 2003, Crowther et al. 2004, cited by Erdemir et al. 2009). Therefore, educational institutions may need to incur a great budget in training and development program for their human capitals to improve their technology literacy. Besides, appropriate facilitates should be provided to assist the IC such as purchasing appropriate software application and hardware that best suit their usage. Lack of some basic software such as anti-virus software can be a serious problem to an institution because another big amount of money will need to incur when the whole system break down (Joia 2000). Purchasing educational software is not cheap because software comes in terms of license where institution will need to agree with the terms and conditions applied. If the license contract is breached, another amount of money should be prepared for lawsuit.

Ethical Issues

Whenever there is human capital, there will be ethical issues and same thing applies here. Referring to the collapse of Enron, while the major cause of this corporate meltdown has been indentified to be financial manipulation, their IC had never run away from contributing to this failure (Chatzkel 2003). This reflects that the validity of IC as a significant element in organization is indeed can be so easily manipulated. According to Lev (2001), educational institution is dealing with increased importance of values, moral fabric and behavioural element when it moves to intangible intensive context. In achieving effective learning using educational technology, ethical issue is of main concern as well because human capital has unfortunately demonstrated that their value can be manipulated and destroyed, according to their situation and context (Kannan and Aulbur 2004).

Theoretical Framework

Technological Advancement

Effective Learning

Intellectual Capital

Research Method

In this research, my main focus is to examine and explain the relationship between technological advancement and effective learning, which is moderated by IC. I have limited my research area to these three variables and thus, my research is an explanatory study. I am not interested in seeking new insight or clarifying my understanding of this issue, which mainly reflected by exploratory study, but wish to establish a causal relationship between the variables (Saunders et al. 2007).

Therefore, I will adopt epistemology as my research philosophy. "Epistemology concerns what constitutes acceptable knowledge in a field of study" (Saunders et al. 2007, p.102). With the collection and analysis of facts in the real world, we are highly acknowledged that technological advancement is inevitable in our life and proved to be contributable especially in pedagogical world. However, I may not know to what extent its roles have led to effective learning. Therefore, I will indentify how IC influences the functions of educational technology in achieving effective learning.

To increase the validity of my research study, I will act as a critical realist. According to Bhaskar (1989), what we see is usually part of the bigger picture and thus we should make an effort to identify the unseeable part through the practical and theoretical processes of the social science (cited by Saunders et al. 2007). Therefore, besides examining technological advancement itself and the sensations it conveys, I will need to consider the social structure that has given rise to or as a result of educational technology. For instance, when we allow machines and technologies to gain greater control, there is possibility that learners will lose the ability to think, to ask and to investigate the mystery of everything (Pistone 2010).

I used the journal articles and literature to help me identify theories and ideas that I should use in this research. Thus, my research will utilize deductive approach in which I should first develop a theoretical framework for me to test using data (Saunders et al. 2007). This approach is suitable in my explanatory study because it allows me to test my hypotheses and provide confirmation.

Experiment is the main strategy I will implement in testing my hypotheses. It is meant to study causal links between independent and dependent variables (Hakim 2000, cited by Saunders et al. 2007), which in my case would be technological advancement and effective learning. Experimental group and control group are formed to compare the effectiveness of learning in the environment with and without educational technology. Besides, I will also use survey to collect data from a sizeable population in examining the emergence of IC into the mentioned relationship. Using this strategy, I will conduct interview and give out questionnaire to the respondents (Saunders et al. 2007). As a critical realist, I will have semi-structured interview to gain possible suggestions and perceptions regarding the contributions of IC in this situation. The quantitative data such as percentage of educational institutes equipped with educational technology, percentage of IC who are both pedagogical and technical, and percentage of academic passing rate after implementing educational technology are collected using structured questionnaire.

In this case, I will be carrying out mixed method research because I use both quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques and analysis procedures at the same time. According to Saunders et al. (2007), mixed method research enables triangulation to take place and thus, further enhances the credibility of my study. For instance, the semi-structured interview can better triangulate the statistical data that I will collect from structured questionnaire.

My sample selection will be done on two-stage cluster sampling in which "the population is divided into discrete groups or clusters prior to sampling" (Saunders et al. 2007, p. 593). With the sampling frame of education, I will group the educational institutions based on geographical area such as Asia, Europe, Africa, America and Australia. Sample of 100 will be chosen randomly from each group to undergo experiment and survey. The estimated duration will span four months, which usually indicates one semester.

In fact, it is preferable to apply longitudinal study in this research title. An insight into developments in educational technology and learning approaches over a period of wide-ranging change is important for a research to be valid and credible. However, I will make my research to be cross-sectional due to time constraint. I will be concentrating more on the utilization of technological advancement nowadays in learning context and explain the relationship between variables.

Upon completing the literature review, it is of high possibility that the hypotheses will be accepted. Effective learning can be achieved through three approaches of learning as knowing, learning as applying knowledge and learning as a path to wisdom. The contributions of IC should never be neglected in dealing with technological advancement to achieve effective learning.


Reflecting on all of the facts and issues indentified in the literature review, the single underlying significance is that the growing tendency of technological advancements on pedagogical mean necessitates the full support and contribution from IC. The evolution of educational technology will definitely benefit the learners regardless their age, culture, background and even country. However, it had and will continue to accelerate so rapidly that no single thing in this Universe would catch it up. In this case, human capital, which is at the top of the food chain, is claimed to have the potential to dominant over the mechanical and non-organic technological world.

Firstly, IC is rich with its valuable knowledge, skill and experience to handle the educational technology. Barriers of time and place are overcome when learners can always stay connected with the source of knowledge such as their educators to get just-in-time information and guidance. Secondly, IC is flexible in adopting educational technology to create effective learning because there is a truth that different learners require different ways to acquire knowledge. Besides, it is believed that IC is sensible and wise in utilizing the manipulatable technological advancements. Nevertheless, the heavy reliance of IC should be handled carefully with high consideration on the possible drawbacks which might be generated from poor financial status and ethical issues.

As a conclusion, the adoption of technological advancements and IC can help educational institutions to bring learners to greater heights through the three critical learning approaches. Besides the intention to do it, institution should also have the capabilities to implement them effectively.