Résumé Writing In Flipped Classroom Environment: Learners’ Perception Of My Résumé App

Abstract

Résumé writing is part of courses for undergraduate students in various institutions that prepares and exposes students to the real job hunt scenario. Furthermore, students also learn about recruiter expectation and the evaluation process in a job interview session. The process of teaching résumé writing is highly tedious and time consuming for instructors; instructors dedicate a lot of time to consult students individually with their résumé. Hence, an application which is named My Résumé App. was designed to accommodate the needs of the modern era of education while ensuring learning outcomes are achieved. Although there are numerous résumé templates online, almost all of them are not appropriate in the context of teaching and learning résumé writing. As such, this application was particularly designed to support instructors in teaching the topic particularly in Malaysian context. The objective of this study is to explore learners’ motivation in using the application in flipped classroom environment. Data were collected using a survey. The results indicated that students had positive motivation towards the use of the application in flipped classroom setting. This study also highlights learners’ recommendations regarding the design and features of the application. In accordance to Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025, Shift 9 on Globalized Online Learning, this application could supply assistance in the teaching and learning of résumé writing lesson.

Keywords: Résumé writingflipped classroomblended learningmotivation

Introduction

Besides a college degree or an internship, fabricating a firm résumé is perhaps the most key step to landing a job after graduation. Résumé is a quick advertisement of who a person is with the intent of seizing and highlighting interests and eventually secure an interview. Since résumé is a primary tool in a job search, it needs to be carefully prepared and written. However, some résumés are lacking in areas of standardized format, development of categories (Johnson, 2017), professional content and explanation of key responsibilities (Higgins, 2019). Moreover, a résumé serves as the applicant’s first communication to the perspective employer. According to Kursmark (2016) one of the utmost challenges for preparing a résumé is the lack of conclusive rules for writing one. While Guffey (2007) explains that the focus of the résumé is how skills and past experiences can contribute and add value to the hiring organization, Noble (2012) suggests that an average résumé can actually lessening a candidate’s chance of being called for an interview. Résumé writing is part of Business Communication syllabus at College of Business Management and Accounting (COBA) in Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN). This course aims to prepare and expose students to the real job hunt scenario. In this course, students also learn about recruiter expectation and the evaluation process in a job interview session. The process of teaching résumé writing can be greatly tiresome, monotonous and time consuming for instructors; instructors allot a lot of time to consult students individually with their résumé.

Due to these challenges in teaching résumé writing, developing an application could suit to the trend and provide option for learners in learning. This study utilized the first version of a résumé writing application, which is named My Résumé App. This application could serve many functions, for instance, it could promote greater user engagement. In addition, this application could also be commercialized and used by educators from other institutions (particularly higher education institutions) that offer Business Communication courses. This application is not merely a teaching and learning application for teaching Business Communication course, but could also act as a valuable marketing tool for the learners. My Résumé App. could be easily integrated with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and so forth. Learners can share the app or their experience using the app with other people, and this can serve as advertising podiums. To date, the newly-developed application has not been tested. Therefore, it is essential to collect learners’ views on the use of the application in motivating them to learn. This is to ensure that My Résumé App. not only shall be used in teaching and learning of résumé writing but consequently could be up scaled up to the standards. Moreover, to encourage participation among learners, the topic was taught in flipped classroom context. As such, this study is designed with the objectives of to investigate learners’ motivation towards My Résumé App; and to explore learners’ challenges in using the application.

Literature Review

Technology in Education

The widespread use of technology influences teaching and learning by allowing more flexible environments where learners can learn and practice anywhere and anytime. Research indicates that information and communication technology (ICT) can expedite the learning apparatus in formal and informal contexts with the support of collaborative activities (Sharples et al., 2005). Nonetheless, efficacious incorporation of apps requires innovative methods and models to ensure dynamic involvement, engagement, collaboration, and cooperation among students and teachers (Khaddage & Lattemann, 2013). Although the use of apps for teaching and learning are in their infancy, if they are integrated efficiently into learning at education institutions, they can support effective teaching and feedback, thus streamlining the learning process (Khaddage et al., 2011).

The high demand and fast growth of ICTs have attracted extensive research interests particularly in education field. Previous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of the flipped classroom on improved students’ learning (Sergis et al., 2018) and increased academic performance (Mason et al., 2013). Furthermore, flipped classroom was found to increase students’ engagement (Lee & Wallace, 2018) as well as skills and knowledge (Murillo-Zamorano et al., 2019). In comparing flipped classroom with the traditional ones, Hew and Lo (2018) found that learners preferred flipped classroom more to traditional setting. However, several studies have shown that learners were less satisfied with flipped classroom (Strayer, 2012) and there was no relationship between learners’ perception and academic performance (Moraros et al., 2015). One of the reasons of this mixed results is probably due to various execution plans used in flipped classrooms for example the study materials, format of the lesson and instructors’ knowledge of flipped approach.

Motivation in Flipped Classroom

In recent years, flipped classroom has gained interest from educators and researchers. Moreover, various studies have identified different constructs of motivation in different contexts. For instance, studies have found that motivation can be increased in e-learning context (Harandi, 2015) and blended learning classrooms (Tseng & Walsh, 2016). In a recent study Turan and Göktaş (2018) investigated the effects of flipped classrooms on learners’ motivation among undergraduate students in Turkey. The constructs of motivation examined in the study are based on ARCS motivation theory that includes attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. By using mixed method design, the findings revealed that learners have higher motivation in flipped classroom setting.

On the other hand, Brown (2019) investigated the effects of flipped classroom instructional model (FCIM) on learners’ motivation. Using Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) to compare learner’s motivation in experimental condition, the results found that there was no difference between the FCIM group and traditional group of students. In summary, motivation to learn could be determined based on various components. In the current study, motivation is built up of four constructs namely intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, task value and self-efficacy for learning. According to Locke and Schattke (2018, p.8), intrinsic motivation refers to liking or wanting an activity while extrinsic motivation is “doing something in order to get some future value (or avoid some future disvalue)” (p.14). On the other hand, task value, is defined as feedback to the students’ beliefs and the value they attribute to their tasks (Eccles & Wigfield, 2002) while self-efficacy refers to a person’s decree of their personal competency to accomplish a definite behaviour or set of behaviours (Bandura, 1986). In the same vein, according to Burger (2015), self-efficacy is regarded as individual’s faith in their capacity to perform a specific behaviour and produce anticipated outcomes.

Research Method

Research Design and Sampling

A survey was conducted in which the researcher collected both quantitative and qualitative data concurrently with the aims of examining the perceptions and challenges faced by learners in using My Résumé App. There were 26 students who enrolled in the course during the semester of the data collection period. The respondents were chosen based on voluntary basis from intact class, hence, in the end there were 23 students who participated in the study. All of the respondents were undergraduate students of business administration courses and majority (85%) were in the first year of study. Among the 23 respondents, 9 (81%) were females and 14 (19%) were males. The respondents ranged in age from 20 to 23. All the respondents have received the English language education for at least 15 years since primary school. The respondents were asked to complete an online survey during Week 9 of their study in that particular semester after they have learnt Résumé Writing topic.

Instrument

The questionnaire items were adapted from Kim (2018) whereby it assessed four constructs in relation to learners’ perception namely intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, task value and self-efficacy for learning. The questionnaire consisted of two sections: i) learners’ academic motivation and ii) challenges faced when using the application. The first section contained 22 close-ended items whereas the second section was made up of three open-ended item. The close-ended items were measured on four constructs (intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, task value and self-efficacy for learning) and based on six-point Likert Scale ranging from not at all true of me to very true of me. The four constructs are made of 22 items with 4 items of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, 6 items of task value and 8 items of self-efficacy for learning. The open-ended item was purposely created to understand deeply about the ordeals that they went through during the use of the application.

Data Collection Procedures and Analysis

Participants were determined based on voluntary basis and were informed about the purpose of the study earlier. They were asked to complete the online survey after they have learnt about Résumé Writing during Week 9 of the study period. The survey was conducted in class as part of teaching and learning. The instructor who was engaged to conduct the survey in class gave a brief introduction to the purpose of the survey. The participants were also informed of the practical significance and benefits of the survey as well as their rights with regard to the study. They were also asked to sign their declaration of consent should they agree to participate in the survey. All of them managed to fully answer all the items in the questionnaires and all the quantitative data obtained were then analysed for descriptive statistics using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 22. Moreover, their feedback to the open-ended item was categorized, coded and analysed depending on the extracted themes. Figure 1 shows the lesson conducted during the flipped classroom session.

Figure 1: Flipped Model Lesson
Flipped Model Lesson
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Findings

To recap, this study attempts to answer two research questions: i) how do the learners perceive the application in learning résumé writing in terms of influencing their motivation, and ii) what are their challenges in using the application.

Learners’ Motivation

SPSS was used to perform the quantitative analysis of this research objective. Following Kim (2018), the constructs were categorized into four components which are intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, task value and self-efficacy for learning. The mean and standard deviation for all items in the constructs were presented in Table 01 .

Table 1 -
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A descriptive analysis was performed to identify the means and standard deviation of the four motivation constructs as presented in Table 01 . To review, the views regarding the constructs were rated on a Likert scale ranging from “not at all true of me” (1) to “very true of me” (6). Based on the descriptive statistic, the highest mean score (M=5.0362) was for task value. The findings also show that the item with the highest mean for rehearsal is “I am very interested in using the application” (M=5.26, sd=0.964) while the lowest mean is “I think I will be able to use what I learn in this course in other courses” (M=4.83, sd=0.778).

The second highest occurrence of learning strategy (M=5.0217) was extrinsic motivation. The result also indicated that “The most important thing for me right now is improving my overall grade point average. So, my main concern in this class is getting a good grade” (M=5.09, sd= 0.668) and “I want to do well in this class because it is important to show my ability to my family and friends” (M=5.09, sd= 0.733) are the highest score of extrinsic motivation construct while “Getting a good grade in this course is the most satisfying thing for me right now” (M=4.91, sd= 0.949) is recorded as the lowest mean of extrinsic motivation.

In contrary, self-efficacy for learning has the second lowest mean score (M=4.7971). The item with the highest mean is “I am not confident I can do excellent job on the assignment” (M=5.04, sd=0.878) while “I am certain I can understand the most difficult material presented in the readings for this course” (M=4.48, sd= 0.898) has the lowest score.

Finally, the lowest mean score of the subscales (M=4.7826) was intrinsic motivation. The highest mean for intrinsic motivation is “The most satisfying thing for me in this course is trying to understand the content as thoroughly as possible” (M=4.96, sd= 0.706). On the other hand, “I prefer course material that really challenges me so I can learn new things” (M=4.70, sd= 0.822) has the lowest mean. Based on the results in Table 01 , it can therefore, be concluded that learners who were using the application for résumé writing have a positive motivation towards their learning as expressed in the survey.

Learners’ Challenges in Using the Application

This section reports on the challenges encountered by learners in using the application for résumé writing. As described in the previous section, learners perceived the application positively as indicated by the mean of all constructs. In this section, there were three instances given to the participants. The first question asked the aspect that learners like about the application. Based on learners’ feedback, it was observed that learners describe the application as easy. For instance, some of the learners claimed,

“….easy to fill in the requirement needed “ (S2)

“… simple and easy to use ” (S4)

The features are easy to be used and systematic ” (S19)

Furthermore, learners also believed that the application is useful. Some of the learners declared,

The résumé can be completed quickly and have choices of design ” (S16)

I can avoid making a lot of errors when using this application ” (S21)

In addition, data collected from the open-ended questions also yielded the aspects that learners dislike. There are two aspects that learners do not prefer in this application. Firstly, the design as pointed by some of the participants,

“… not colourful enough ” (S1)

“… This application is quite simple and because of that, it looks unattractive ” (S7)

“… the features in the app. is easy to understand, but the layout of the app. needs to be improved ” (S11)

Secondly, learners highlighted the problems they encountered in using the application. Some of the learners elucidated,

The app must be used with internet connection, otherwise it can’t work ” (S3)

Some of the sub-points are limited to 3 points only. Furthermore, I can’t insert more bullets if I have more things to write on ” (S1)

I don’t like when I am in the middle of using the app, then suddenly there is no internet connection. I have to type it all again from the beginning ” (S8)

The third question allows learners to provide suggestions to improve the application. The suggestions were made on two major points. Firstly, in terms of the design of the application learners suggested,

Provide variety of colourful templates ” (S3)

Add more features such as editing and spell-checkers ” (S4)

Should have more design, colours and templates ” (S8)

Give more choice of templates including creative résumé ” (S13)

Secondly, some learners expressed their hope in terms of the accessibility of the application.

Please make sure that the application is still free in the future because other application must be paid ” (S10) “

I am happy because this application is free of charge, otherwise, I need to pay for it ” (S11)

I have tried to get free app. before but all that I found need to pay ” (S23)

Looking at the data obtained from the online questionnaire, it can be summarized that the use of My Résumé App. in flipped classroom has motivated the learners to learn the topic and made learners to feel at ease. Although learners found that the application is advantageous to them, learners also found that the application is less attractive in terms of its design and layout. This might be because the integration of the application is beneficial particularly when it is used as learning tool in flipped classroom environment and thus, using an application that is eye-catching could draw learners’ interest. Furthermore, learners also raised the issue of internet connectivity and free accessibility upon using the application.

Discussion and Implications

The findings in this study are drawn based on learners’ perception in terms of their motivation and challenges they encountered in using the application. The findings indicated that learners have positive perception towards their motivation which is similar to other studies (i.e., Henderson et al., 2017; Ismail et al., 2013; Rahamat et al., 2017; Zainuddin & Attaran, 2016). The learners are the iGeneration which are born with the technology, therefore, they are comfortable and able to adapt to the use of application in the classroom easily. It is now depending on the instructors whether to employ technologies in their classrooms or not. Instructors need to be equipped with not only knowledge about the content but more demanding is how to deliver the content using technologies. Instructors play significant role as the success of the National Philosophy of Education relies on their pedagogical approach and ability to adapt to the trend of learning among Generation Z. As pointed by McAlister et al. (2009), a blend of teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and ICT practice in the teaching and learning processes would lead to a “well-grounded, engaged students” (p. 13) who would ultimately be able to step forward beyond the classroom to discover the borderless world of information. Since the data have shown that learners have positive motivation in using the application in their learning, instructors should grab this opportunity to make the teaching process that could promote learners’ thinking skills and grow learners’ potential to become lifelong learners. Furthermore, research has shown that leaners could gain benefits in a condition where instructors make a well-planned lesson design (Awidi & Paynter, 2019; Turan & Göktaş, 2018). In brief, the use of technologies in classroom condition should be fully utilized by instructors to accommodate the needs and preference of learners nowadays who are the iGeneration.

Conclusion

The use of technology to assist teaching and learning of a flipped classroom model for certain parts of the course syllabus has enhanced students’ motivation despite the obstacles they meet. Hence, it can be determined that the use of My Résumé App. is applicable and could bring benefits not only to instructors but also learners. To ensure the endurance of the application, imminent research could be done to explore the consistency and sustainability of the findings. Accordingly, it might also be important to identify and compare other similar applications that are more up-to-date and upgrade the current application so that it could be used more effectively in teaching.

Acknowledgments

This paper arises from a research project funded by the Energy University or also known as Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) (award number 10436494/B/2019064).

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

30.12.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.05.37

Online ISSN

2357-1330