Group Process Skill Integration in Introductory Accounting: A Scaffolding Approach

By Nicholas McGuigan, Sidney Weil, Thomas Kern and Baiding Hu.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 6, 2014 $US5.00

This paper describes the introduction of a group-based project designed specifically to integrate the development of group processing skills with the teaching of technical accounting content, within an introductory accounting programme. The paper describes the context in which the research takes place, the nature of the unit, and the group assessment task. The questionnaire-based study measures students’ perceptions of the relative usefulness of study groups in developing key learning competencies. The findings of the study show that students perceive the major benefit of study groups being to learn from other group members and to actively participate in the introductory accounting curriculum. This is particularly true for international, non-English first language students. Furthermore, student feedback reflected an appreciation for being introduced to and explicitly taught group processing skills. These findings suggest that accounting educators can use study groups within a structured project, to engage learners and to assist in the development of transferable skills.

Keywords: Co-operative Learning, Study Groups, Introductory Accounting Programme, Transferable Skills Development, Student Perceptions

The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 20, Issue 3, May 2014, pp.43-69. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 6, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 927.133KB)).

Nicholas McGuigan

Lecturer, Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Nicholas McGuigan is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of Department in Accounting and Corporate Governance at Macquarie University. His research interests include the integration of graduate attributes within the accounting curriculum, student conceptions of and learning approaches towards accounting and innovative teaching practice. Nicholas has published in international accounting and education journals, presented at numerous conferences, been involved in the award of over $700,000 in competitive research funding and been invited to hold visiting academic positions in England and Germany. He is currently Co-Chair of the Accounting Education Special Interest Group for Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ).

Dr. Sidney Weil

Associate Professor, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Faculty of Commerce, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Sidney Weil is an Associate Professor in accounting at Lincoln University, New Zealand. Formerly, from South Africa, he developed an interest in accounting education at the University of the Western Cape, completing his Ph. D. by investigating the learning difficulties of first year accounting students. He developed this research interest further as the Director of the Associate in Management (AIM) programme – an intensive management development programme designed to empower formerly disadvantaged South Africans to move into and through middle management – at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Cape Town. The author of several books and numerous journal articles, his primary research interest in recent years has been in the perceived benefits of the use of case studies by accounting students.

Thomas Kern

Lecturer, Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Thomas Kern is a Lecturer in financial accounting at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. His research interests include accounting education, financial accounting for financial institutions and sustainable development and disclosures of financial institutions. Thomas has presented and published numerous articles in both of these areas and been invited to present to professional accounting bodies in Australia and New Zealand. He is currently Co-Editor of the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ) Accounting Education Periodical, a publication dedicated to thought leadership and innovation in Accounting Education. Previously, he was Head of an IFRS Competence Centre of an international commercial bank based in Hamburg, Germany, taking shared responsibility for the technical implementation of IFRS.

Dr. Baiding Hu

Senior Lecturer, Department of Accounting, Economics, and Finance, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Baiding Hu is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Lincoln University, New Zealand. His research interests include applied econometrics, Chinese economy, measuring energy efficiency in the presence of price effects, total factor productivity growth and reduction in energy intensity and the effects of oil and food prices on demand for renewable energy He has held previous academic positions in Australia and has taught in the areas of econometrics, microeconomics and energy economics.