Considering the importance of human capital in innovation, entrepreneurship and thus economic development, this study attempts to examine formal learning as a mechanism of human capital development in institutions of higher learning. Ironically, students in such institutions are automatically assumed to learn and accumulate pertinent capacity, which would then enable them to compete in the business world or pursue further studies in future. Consequently, lack of this cognizance culminates in little being known about how students learn to accumulate knowledge, skills and requisite competencies. Notwithstanding this, the challenges posed in the twenty-first century require well-rounded students those especially who can address the global transformations witnessed in the business arena. The purpose of this paper is an attempt to fill this gap using data from the University of Dubai (UD) to examine how formal learning takes place in an institution and what determines it.
Learning is conceptualized in terms of knowledge, skills and competencies accumulated as proxied by cumulative general point aggregate. All the data used came from the UD. In addition to in-depth descriptive analysis, the study uses limited dependent techniques to identify the most significant determinants of institutional learning.
The empirical results generated indicate that demographic characteristics such as age, nationality and gender had a positive effect on learning. Moreover, a student’s initial condition influenced his/her learning positively. Whereas the mode of study under personal preferences did not seem to affect learning, the number of course sections taken had a positive influence on learning. As anticipated, student transfer had a negative influence on learning. The number of credit hours accumulated affected learning positively.
The main limitation of this study is that results are only applicable within a limited geographical scope, and thus they cannot be generalized for global consumption. Nonetheless, the discussion and results obtained make insights to any future-related studies.
As pointed out in the previous sections, learning will be conceptualized in the form of knowledge, skills and competency acquisition. In a school setting, knowledge, skills and competencies are better captured by the grade attained in each subject. The general student learning can, therefore, be equally captured by the cumulative grade point aggregate. The authors purport that learning can be visualized, or in other words conceptualized, as a complex process that is determined by five main factors that include demographic characteristics; student initial condition; personal preferences and choices; and time factor curriculum and anticipated future career.
Gachino, G.G. and Worku, G.B. (2019), "Learning in higher education: towards knowledge, skills and competency acquisition", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 33 No. 7, pp. 1746-1770. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-10-2018-0303Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited