Higher education institutions must enable students to acquire skills and capacities that prepare them for working life and enhance their employability. This will lead to an applied learning- and teaching-enhancement-oriented sustainable Higher Education System. This research aims to contribute to that goal by analyzing student interactions in a collaborative learning community. It assesses the impact of visual tools on academic performance and student satisfaction in employment-focused blended studies, in which enrollees were geographically dispersed undergraduates with a diversity of profiles. A financial studies learning community was created to test students’ interactions in a model conducive to participation as visual content creators and users. Three surveys (pre-project, appraisal of classmates’ visual exercises, and post-project) were conducted to assess project impact. First, we used a univariate approach, focused on students’ characteristics, course and project appraisals, and the effects of the project on academic performance and expectations. Secondly, a bivariate approach was conducted to detect relationships between respondents’ appraisals and personal characteristics and to determine whether their mean scores were the same irrespective of such characteristics. The findings showed that: (1) Students’ preferences concur with those of their employers; (2) participation in innovative initiatives improves students’ perception of course procedures; (3) visual tools have a positive impact on learning, in terms of both academic performance and student satisfaction. The study concludes by providing support for educational institutions´ decision-making around courses and the overall curricula by defining the factors determining academic performance and student satisfaction.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited