Identification and Use of Critical Success Factors Affecting Student and Employer Satisfaction in Higher Education Using System Dynamics Scenarios
This research was undertaken in response to several calls by higher education scholars and practitioners for an improved understanding of the higher education-related critical success factors which may refine and enhance the quality within Higher Education, particularly the students’ satisfaction with the programme and employer satisfaction with learning outcomes. The main aim of the current study, therefore, is to develop and validate a framework of higher education-related critical success factors in the context of face-to-face education, so that they may improve the students’ satisfaction with the programme and employer satisfaction with learning outcomes by using a system dynamics’ approach.
The archival research is representative of the research strategy. It consists of two different secondary phases of research methods design. The document analysis throughout the annual reports of new engineering programmes within the Egyptian public higher education were used to obtain the secondary data in the first phase (qualitative secondary phase), while the annual reports though survey-based secondary data were used to acquire the secondary data in the second phase (quantitative secondary phase), ranging from the academic years 2011/2012 - 2017/2018 inclusive. Both qualitative and quantitative secondary data were previously collected by the Project Management Unit as an official and creditable body within the Egyptian public higher education.
A purposive sample size has encompassed 22 annual evaluation reports of new engineering programmes in the qualitative secondary phase, whereas census technique of a target population has been used to acquire the quantitative secondary data from all the target population of new engineering programmes in the quantitative secondary phase. The main aim of the qualitative secondary phase is to identify the most relevant critical factors of quality success within higher education and the potential improvement scenarios, or plans, of quality in higher education that has been suggested by the quality experts, while the major aim of the quantitative secondary phase is to validate the system dynamics model which represents the dynamic hypothesis and identifies the best scenario in order to improve the students’ satisfaction with the programme and employer satisfaction with learning outcomes.. The thematic analysis method is used to analyse the qualitative secondary data, whereas the validation tests of the system dynamics’ modelling approach through Powersim software Version 10 is used to validate the dynamics model structure and behaviour.
Of the 92 critical success factors of higher education identified from the literature, the research findings have validated 27 critical success factors of quality in higher education that have been relevant to the context of new engineering programmes based on the perspectives of quality experts. Of these 27 critical factors, the research findings contribute theoretically by generating fresh insights into the higher education-related critical success factors and validating the annual increased rate of tuition fees and staff competence.
The findings also contribute theoretically by validating other four partially new critical success factors. Of these four critical factors, outcomes-based assessment methods of students, for example, is identified in the literature without depending on the outcomes-related perspective; however, this new perspective was generated in the findings of qualitative phase. The simulation results also contribute theoretically by validating the proposed dynamic hypothesis as new insight because it represents a new interconnection among three different perspectives, namely, quality, critical success factors, system dynamics approaches. The findings also contribute practically by identifying and validating the best scenario to improve student’s satisfaction with programme and employer satisfaction with learning outcomes. Similarly, the findings also practically contribute by providing the policymakers with other practical insights.
- School of Management