DOI:https://doi.org/10.3232/SJSS.2016.V6.N3.01

Digital tools in soil science related field studies: Training support and lifelong learning

Ángela D. Bosch Serra, Germán Estudillos, María Rosa Yagüe, Josep M. Virgili

Abstract

The acquisition of professional skills can be helped by using digital tools (DT). The adaptation of the Spanish curricula to the European Higher Education zone has brought with it further demands to improve students’ foreign language performance. Any tool requires to be evaluated by potential users. We aimed to assess the usefulness for learning of two multilingual DTs, dealing with water quality for irrigation and fertigation planning through a case-study approach. Our hypothesis was that the tools will be useful for students, and also for professionals as Decision Support Systems (DSS). During three academic years, the DTs were evaluated in the context of regular university subjects, and in lifelong learning courses for professionals. A questionnaire with a Likert scale was completed by the DT users. The technical-scientific content, the pedagogical content, and the friendliness for users were evaluated. Data analysis was done by analysis of variance and according to the classes of user: gender, age, previous studies and current activities. Saving time in routine calculations using DTs brought benefits in lighter workloads for students, which was balanced with an increase in discussions. It also led to a sustained interest, even when the use of a foreign language was introduced. Time saving and the teaching content were also appreciated by professionals. The general average score given to the materials was 4.15 out of 5.The multilingual DTs designed for solving real-life problems were appreciated by students to support learning in agronomic engineering subjects and in foreign languages. The DTs can be disseminated to professionals, as they appreciate the up-to-date technical-scientific content as well as the effectiveness of the calculations.

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With the patronage of
Universia
Avda. de Cantabria, s/n - 28660, Boadilla del Monte
Madrid, España