(“University Business Collaboration”, R.Crepon, SEFI2015 conference, Orléans / France, 07/01/2015)
The current paper is part of a general research work started in 2011. The research project is aiming to make explicit the assumptions and decisions for the design of digital learning resources that would support blended learning in both academia and industry. In particular, we try to understand the influence of human, organizational and didactical aspects on the design of common learning resources for academia and industry.
Using design based research methodology, we have engineered an e-learning module in geostatistics, in real world settings and in collaboration with instructors from industry and faculty members from university. The learning resource, a self-paced tutorial, has been used for blended learning in several institutions: one Higher Education Institution (HEI), three companies and one public research institute so far. The study represents ten blended courses, five at HEI and five professional trainings.
The paper is divided into two parts. In the first one, we account for the noticeable differences in the observations made within the academic and corporate contexts. Besides, we run more advanced statistical analysis, as non-parametric and parametric tests, to understand if statistically significant differences can be found between the groups. We carried out an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) and built a preliminary Structural Equation Model (SEM). Later, we discuss possible interpretations of the models in order to link our observations to learning theories and principles. We refer to the Knowles’ principles for adult learning, to situated cognition and to multimedia learning. All three theoretical frameworks are deemed relevant in order to explain some observed differences between the academic and corporate populations of learners. The results will enable us to generate principles which can inform the work of others for the design of common resources between HEI and industry and for blended learning in engineering education.