Quantitative Research Design to Evaluate Learning Platforms and Learning Methods for Cyber-security Courses
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Context: Teaching security courses is a challenging task in computer science program since it requires careful integration of theoretical concepts with their practical applications. In this paper, a quantitative approach is used to evaluate effective learning platforms and different learning styles for cyber-security courses. The outcomes of the study show that practice-based learning is the most effective learning method for cyber-security courses and student performance can further be enhanced significantly through social learning instead of solitary learning. Purpose: The main goal of this research is to understand the effects of learning styles and platforms for successful adaptation of different pedagogical practices. The following research questions are designed to achieve the expected outcomes. - For cyber-security courses, does the performance of a student match with his/her selfspecified learning performance? - How learning platforms affect a student's performance in cyber-security courses? What factors play significant roles to successfully run a cyber-security course? - Which type of learning mechanism is the most effective for cyber-security courses? Is learning in a group better than individual learning? Approach: Quantitative research is defined as a scientific method which follows a number of procedures such as generation of models, identifying theories and hypotheses, development of instrumentals and methods for measurement, experimental control and manipulation of variables, collection of empirical data, modelling and analysis of data and evaluation of results. This research follows experimental modes of inquiry which follows a standard form namely, participants, materials, procedures and measures. Results: The results show that there is no single platform that includes all features to successfully run a cyber-security course. However, this problem can be solved by integrating those features with existing platforms. The study also suggests that learning performance can further be enhanced by choosing appropriate learning style. Conclusions: This paper investigates the impacts of learning platforms and learning strategies for cyber-security courses. Similar experiments from different aspects will be interesting to test their validity. The outcome can be used for further decision making e.g., the correlation of learning style difference could help to determine whether customized learning styles would be more effective for teaching cyber-security courses.
Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2017)
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Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy