Blog as Reference Material for 21st Century Learners

I developed, a research-oriented blog, to facilitate student learning taking advantage of easy online access to educational articles that I carefully created. After six years, the blog metamorphosed into a legitimate reference material that served students and teachers alike in many educational institutions worldwide. The articles were organized into e-books that helped generate funds to make the operation of the website sustainable.

The age of information revolutionized the way students learn. Learning is no longer confined to the four corners of the classroom. It is common knowledge that whenever students are faced with assignments to work on, chances are, students will surf the Internet (Rhoades et al., 2008) to get the information they want from over 1.8 billion websites in the world (Fowler, 2017).

However, not all of the materials published on the internet are curated. The article or write-up that the student finds in the first ten links may be presenting misleading information. An opinion given by the writer may be construed as fact by the reader (Graham and Metaxas, 2003). In particular, information from blogs may not always be reliable as many of these are strongly opinionated and can lack professionalism.


Blog as Reference Material

A popular article published in a blog may not necessarily provide factual information. But psychologists found that people may not go to lengths to verify the information they have just read, even lies.

A landmark study by Hovland and Weiss (1951) noted that in time, people tend to disassociate the content and the source. A once “untrustworthy” material taken initially with skepticism is accepted. Lies are easily remembered than truths. Thus, internet-savvy educators need to institute safeguards to wean their students from “untrustworthy” sources of information.

Modern, information technology-oriented educators can enhance the learning quality of 21st-century learners by providing tips on how to discern factual from false information (Regoniel, 2017). Further, in response to the increasing popularity of the world wide web as a source of reliable information worthy of being cited as reference material, the educators themselves can produce well-written educational materials that their students can rely on.

I took this path and created my science blog as a venue to share my research knowledge and experience to students in the university as well as other places across the globe. I wrote short articles, averaging 400 to 600 words, based on a tedious synthesis of curated material found online. Guest authors, mainly academic, also joined and published similar articles.

The blog that I started as a hobby in October 2012 evolved into a legitimate source of reference material. Published articles got cited in international scientific journals, book chapters, books and e-books published by Springer, Proquest and ERIC. A short article titled “Conceptual framework: a step by step guide on how to make one” published in 2015, garnered 34 citations as of this writing.

The internet enabled people to access information at their fingertips. Science-related information that educates students and professionals no longer need to spend a fortune to answer one question that persists in their brain. Blogs can supply ready answers to hungry minds.


Fowler, D. (2017). How many websites are there in the world? Retrieved on January 18, 2019 from

Graham, L. and Metaxas, P. T. (2003). Of course it’s true; I saw it on the Internet!: critical thinking in the Internet era. Communications of the ACM, 46(5):70–75.

Hovland, C. I. and Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness.
Public Opinion Quarterly, 15(4):635–650.

Rhoades, E. B., Irani, T., Telg, R., and Myers, B. E. (2008). Internet as an information source: Attitudes and usage of students enrolled in a college of agriculture course. Journal of Agricultural Education,

© 2019 September 26 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (September 26, 2019). Blog as Reference Material for 21st Century Learners [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Why Are English Language Proficiency Exams Important?

This article aims to describe the level of English proficiency in the Philippines and why it is important to change the curriculum based on global standards such as APTIS, TOEIC, IELTS and TOEFL. In order for you to understand it, please read on below.

In the essay, “Pliant like the Bamboo” by I.V. Mallari, Filipinos are said to have the gift of language. We are good communicators. We are hired abroad because of our ability to communicate in a multi-cultural environment. More than 14 million Filipinos were able to speak English, and we were recognized globally. However, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have improved their English literacy rate while our level of English proficiency is declining.

As a curriculum developer, it is necessary to have a preparatory year aside from the K+12 Basic Education Curriculum. The Preparatory Year must be based in the English Proficiency Exams such as TOEIC, TOEFL, APTIS, and IELTS because many of the countries in Europe, Middle East, and Asia are now changing their curriculum in English. For example, an international school in Thailand includes in their Transcript of Records the students’ TOEIC scores for the companies to choose the most qualified graduates and place them in the positions that they deserve.

The research conducted by President Melva Diamante of Southville Foreign University and the General Manager of Hopkins International Partners, Inc., Mr. Rex Wallen Tan found that the average English proficiency score of a Philippine college graduate is 630 based on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). This score is lower than the competency requirement for taxi drivers in Dubai. Given the scenario, the government is looking into revising the curriculum for college students to improve the quality of our graduates. CHED Chair Commissioner, Prospero De Vera pointed out the importance of taking more seriously the industry-academe-government partnership to address the trends worldwide.

But before we do the so-called curricular reforms in the Philippines, please try to reflect and answer the following questions:

1. How can schools and universities nationwide improve the level of English proficiency of the students to globally compete with other countries? 

2. Why should we adopt CEFR and TOEIC in the Philippines? Or can we have other tests like APTIS, TOEFL and IELTS, among others?

3. What major steps shall we make in order to achieve the language proficiency based on the global standards?

When I was in the Middle East, I was part of the Curriculum Development Committee that evaluated a proposal made by a prestigious university in Canada. Our committee was tasked to develop the English Curriculum for Preparatory Year based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The British Council, the Oxford University Press, the Educational Testing System (ETS), and the Cambridge University Press were our partners in the design and development of the English curriculum because our graduates are expected to study further in the United Kingdom and/or to work in multi-national companies like ARAMCO, SABIC, among others.

In 2016, I went to Asia. I was encouraged by my dissertation adviser to go to Thailand to immerse and personally experience the educational milieu in Asia. Now, Thailand is working hard to increase its language proficiency. My students were familiar with the TOEIC exam because it was integrated into their English curriculum. They are required to take it every semester so that they could have higher TOEIC scores. Their real TOEIC scores in the final year of their degree programs are shown in their Transcript of Records.

My immersion with multi-national companies made me realize that there is a need to adopt the CEFR. It is essential in measuring the level of proficiency among our graduates and employees. However, taking the CEFR and developing a curriculum based on it is not an easy task. The Philippine Government and the Commission on Higher Education must conscientiously implement the National English Roadmap to make it successful. However, there will be challenges. Here are some:

1. Planning & Budgetary Requirements. The budget for laboratory equipment, classroom security devices, computers, and internet connections must be included in Strategic Planning.

2. Facilities and Equipment. There is a need for reliable WiFi and internet connection. Each classroom must be equipped with a computer, LCD, or smartboard.

3. Curriculum & Assessment. There is a need to decongest the curriculum (if possible, adopt the Oxford, Cambridge, Pearson, & British Council curriculum, including books and instructional materials). There is also a need to device authentic assessment tools to determine the level of proficiency-based on the CEFR. In some cases, curriculum developers mirror/mimic the APTIS, TOEIC, IELTS, TOEFL, and English Cambridge Exam to expose the students.

4. Admission Requirements & Graduates Quality Standards. The selection process must be valid and reliable. In most countries, they use English proficiency exams such as APTIS, TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.

5. Teachers’ Training. There is a need to train teachers and curriculum developers for this kind of curriculum, along with language specialists.

6. Mindset & Attitude. Many will be skeptics about the adoption of the CEFR, but ASEAN countries have adopted it to address the issues in globalizing Higher Education.  

If our neighboring countries have already adopted the use of English proficiency exams and CEFR, the Filipinos who are pliant like the bamboo must be willing to accept the changes. It is not only about English proficiency. It is finding the right graduates for the right jobs and positions.


  1. Cabigon, Mike. (November 14, 2015). State of English in PH: Should we be concerned? Retrieved from
  2. Domingo, Katrina (February 9, 2018). PH lacks English standard ahead of BPO shift to artificial intelligence. Retrieved from (https://news.abs-  to-artificial-intelligence.
  3. Morallo, Audrey (February 8, 2018). Filipino graduates’ English skills lower than target for cab drivers in Dubai, study says. Retrieved from
Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (September 13, 2019). Why Are English Language Proficiency Exams Important? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Science Blogs: a way to disseminate scientific information

What is scientific information unless read and understood by a higher number of people and applied to their lives? This article describes the power of science blogs as an offshoot of the internet, disruptive technology that changed people’s lives since its introduction in 1990.

Open Science Blog on Research Findings

Open science blogs are potent media that can aid scientists in disseminating their findings. With a little but working knowledge of content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, one can readily upload his or her thoughts, opinions, perspectives, or even data for discussion on a particular topic of interest.

Using blogs, a knowledgeable science writer can translate scientific findings into a form that a layperson can understand. Evidence-based perspectives influence how people think and act. Discoveries present interesting information that people can use for their specific purposes.

Consequently, more author exposure is possible with the ease by which one can self-publish articles worthy in a science blog as references. Putnam (2011) noted that science blogs promote quick dissemination of research, increases cooperation, and potentially makes the author’s research stronger.

Blogs offer opportunities to disseminate scientific information fast. There is no need to wait in the long queue of traditional scientific publishing, even the open access ones. Thus, the cost of publication is small, but the gains in learning something new or groundbreaking is high.

A caricature on blogs.

Peer-review Process

Meanwhile, some people criticize the science blog’s authenticity as these are not peer-reviewed. Peer review ensures production of quality articles (see post on the benefits of peer-review). But readers take care of this concern, through their comments. Some may even be authorities in their respective fields.

To illustrate this situation, see the lengthy comments on Canadian microbiologist Rosie Redfield’s critic in her science blog of a NASA finding. Colleagues responded to the post and gave their confirmation or criticism of the ideas presented in the article. The blog’s author, as well as other readers, responded or reacted to the critic’s concern. No conventional scientific journal can feature this kind of interaction between people.

Carsten Könneker, lead researcher and science communication expert of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany noted that “Blogging is only one digital format for science communication. Scientists who don’t make use of any of these formats are missing out on immense opportunities” (Brown and Woolston, 2018).

Finally, this blog allows me to present my ideas and share my experiences not only to my students but students from all over the world. The feeling of satisfaction from readers who find my articles helpful is immeasurable. At times, I write articles about my research findings. In effect, this blog functions as a science blog.

Science blogs, therefore, are powerful media to share scientific information. Join the community of science bloggers. Write your thoughts here.

Brown, E. and Woolston, C. (2018). Why science blogging still matters. Retrieved on January 19, 2019 from


Putnam, L. (2011). The changing role of blogs in science information dissemination. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 65(4).

© 2019 June 1 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (June 1, 2019). Science Blogs: a way to disseminate scientific information [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Academic writing skills: five tips to enhance your paper

Academic writing skills need time and effort to hone. But how would you develop your skills to write like a seasoned scientist? As a university professor, I found the following five tips useful in writing articles and long academic papers easy, fast, and professional looking. Read on to find out.

Ten Tips in Developing Academic Writing Skills

1. Use technological aids

The age of information brings with it lots of technological aids useful in writing academic papers. Just minding the underlined words in your paragraph and reading the suggestions offered by MS Word using its spelling and grammar function can help improve your academic writing skills. Take time to correct your spelling and grammar using the tips, and definitely, you will deliver a better paragraph.

While I am confident that I can write and express myself well in English, I once subscribed in Grammarly to improve my grammar. My once too busy schedule and a change in routine at home prevented me from writing regularly and making full use of the app. Hence, I stopped using it.

However, knowing that my blog, this website, gains more traffic with each blog I write and realizing that additional income significantly supplements my regular job, I resolved to post articles once again frequently. I re-subscribed in Grammarly to help me compose my articles better yet. Pieces that are virtually free of errors get ranked well and gain more views. I believe it is a good investment for a blogger like me.

2. Use Free Sources of Literature

Google Scholar is an excellent aid to help develop academic writing skills. It is an indispensable online, freely accessible search engine that lets you browse digital copies of articles related to your research interests.

Decades back, I have a hard time looking for related literature and judge whether a topic is worth pursuing. Google Scholar makes it easy as it archives articles from scientific journals. Just read the metadata and decide whether it suits your theme. You may read my previous post titled How to Start a Review of Literature and see how to make full use of the search engine.

If you cannot afford the price of the article you are interested in, you may use free online sources like the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), CORE, Science Open, and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), among others. Open access articles allow you to read the essential contents of the scientific paper like the methodology. Hence, you can improve your academic writing skills by citing relevant scientific articles.

3. Use Statistics in Your Write-up

The use of numbers in your write-up makes it more interesting. Summarizing them in the form of tables, graphs, or infographic even make information much more enjoyable. According to an infographic by MDG Advertising, articles with relevant images get 94% more views (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Infographic on the impact of relevant images in articles.

4. Look for Mentors to Hone Your Academic Writing Skills

Finding a good mentor to give you feedback on your write-ups helps a lot. Have constant interaction with a colleague who has a keen eye in spotting spelling, grammatical problems, or even your logic.

Asking people to comment on your paper makes peer review a critical process in developing your academic writing skills. Even small but significant punctuation errors reflect on the accuracy and reliability of your article. Common mistakes like the use of colons, semi-colons, and the correct written form of “et al.” say a lot about you as an academic writer.

5. Maintain a Habit of Writing

Practice makes perfect. You cannot perfect your trade with just a few essays here and there. Develop your writing style and establish a habit of writing.

Allocate specific time frames to write, and do it whether you are inspired to write or not. It will help if you know when is the best time to write. I usually allocate two hours to write an article. But I noticed an article written in 30 minutes gained a lot of views!

Are you a morning person or a night person? Knowing your writing preference relieves you of mental blocks. Make sure that you can do your writing without interruption on those times to avoid breaking your flow of thought.

Recognizing the time when you can best compose an article makes the task easy to do. For sure, with constant practice, your academic writing skills will gradually improve through time.

To summarize everything and I recap, remember the five tips I have just described. I know these tips helped me write high traffic articles in The tips also enabled me to write books which took a lot of time to produce.

Do you have more tips in mind that works for you? Please share in the comments below.

© 2019 May 25 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (May 25, 2019). Academic writing skills: five tips to enhance your paper [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

If the world is getting warmer, why is it so cold in winter?

As climate change raises our planet’s temperatures, warming has affected winters more quickly than summers. However, when temperatures drop below zero, many people, including US President Donald Trump , asks: “If the Earth is getting warmer, why is it so cold in winter?”

The answer lies in the difference between the local weather state and the climate in general.

Climate Defined and An Analogy

Climate refers to how the atmosphere behaves over a long period, while the weather describes what happens in a much shorter time frame. In a certain way, climate can be considered as the sum of long periods of the weather.

Or, if we use an analogy: the weather represents the amount of money you have in your pocket today, while the weather is your net worth. A billionaire who forgot his wallet one day is not poor, just as a person in poverty does not become rich if he suddenly makes an unexpected profit of a few hundred dollars. The important thing is what happens in the long term.

The Earth is Getting Warmer

Even if one day you are colder than usual, the whole planet is more often hotter than the historical average.

For example, in December 2017 there was a period in which the weather was unusually cold in several regions of the United States; they had temperatures between 8 and 16 degrees Celsius colder than normal, but the world in general had conditions 0.5 degrees warmer than the average during 1979 to 2000.

Climatologists expect the world to warm, on average, by 1 to 3 degrees Celsius more by the end of the century – depending on how fast greenhouse gas emissions rise – but this is not forecast to mean the end of winter. There will still be historically minimum levels of temperatures, only that they will be increasingly spaced.

According to a study published in 2009 , the United States had almost the same amount of historical maximums as temperature lows during the 1950s, but by the 2000s it had twice the maximums than historical lows. There were still waves of cold, but they were becoming much less frequent.

Cold Surges Due to Polar Vortex

Some of the recent cold surges have occurred because of a climatic phenomenon called the polar vortex, referring to circular wind bands near the poles. There is increasing evidence suggesting that the polar vortex is appearing more frequently outside the Arctic region, due to changes in the current as a result of the warming of the atmosphere. These changes allow the icy air to escape from the Arctic and swoop down to the south.

Some politicians in the world have already tried to use cold waves to argue that global warming is not such. US President Donald Trump is accustomed to showing his skepticism about climate change on Twitter, and has published comments on “climate change” or “global warming” more than a hundred times since 2011. Before becoming president, he said the change in climate was a hoax and claimed that the idea had been perpetuated by the Chinese.

In 2018, he retracted his comment, saying: “I do not think it’s a hoax. Yes, I think there’s probably a difference, but I do not know if it’s caused by humanity.”

Hundreds of scientific organizations indicate that human activities are mainly responsible for global warming.

Cite this article as: marvelloussuraj (April 9, 2019). If the world is getting warmer, why is it so cold in winter? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Great Ways to Present Your Data

Reporting the findings of a study is often thought of as the final step in program analytics. People that view data presentation as of lesser importance misinterpret it. People that are interested in data-driven discovery and transformation should prioritize data presentation and take advantage of solutions such as stale slideshows and Powerpoint presentations. No matter how sophisticated and streamlined a display is, it doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t address the right audience. The following are incredible tips for overcoming the barriers of data presentation and becoming more effective at reporting data-driven findings.


Visualization may not leave adequate space for words, but data presenters can still use images to sell their story. However, that doesn’t make words less useful; instead, data presenters should think of it as meaning that every word counts and ensure no word goes to waste. Even without a room for wording, data presenters can use wording techniques to make their presentations unique. You should start by making headings and titles less generic, and instead, use that front page for highlighting the key points. Like other storytelling processes, data-driven storytelling can be done in many ways, but the only difference is that no audience needs a surprising ending. Of course, the viewers want to get the facts they paid for before the end of a story.

Become a Numbers Artist

It involves more than the use of numbers and logic to figure out how to present data-driven discoveries. Research has shown that speaking to both the heart and head of the audiences can persuade them to change their mind and take action. Though numbers are effective at presenting quantifiable information, data presenters might need some forms of grounding or humanizing data when communicating how things impact the lives of their target audience. Sometimes data presenters can achieve this by attaching an image that relates to their topic next to the chart or graph.


The use of colors is one of the useful storytelling and data visualization tools. The eyes of the target audience are attracted to color, so data presenters should use colors that drive the eyeballs towards the key aspects when telling stories. Data presenters can use various colors such as grey or brown to de-emphasis anything that isn’t essential at that point.

Don’t Be Stuck to the Past

At least half of the target audience is likely to use their mobile devices to read business analytics. You can present reports as if they are intended to bound into a book or printed. However, the habit has become unnecessary today because it tends to prevent actual readers from engagement. Ideas such as leaving blank pages and carrying over old things are no longer useful. Bloating reports of a data-driven discovery can be an effective way to leave insights unexploited and findings ignored.

Start at the End

Though it alludes to the above, starting at the end deserves its unique heading. Data presentation experts recommend flipping the script to the order in which data presenters report their findings. That means students and any other presenters should consider re-arranging their ways of communicating their reports.

People that have come through academia are indoctrinated with the culture that says they should explain their message, discuss the findings that people have discovered, and give their background. However, starting at the end fails the color consideration test option because it doesn’t consider things from their viewpoint and describe them in a way the target audience can understand.

Therefore, data presenters should start with the findings, conclusions, and action items to ensure the target audience understands the results clearly. It also gives data presenters a chance to report their findings in a way that other people will understand and remember.

Everything discussed above including words and colors and speaking to the hearts and heads of the target audience as well as becoming a number artists impacts the way people report their data-driven discoveries.

Cite this article as: KevinDevoto (April 9, 2019). Great Ways to Present Your Data [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Education: An Urgent Need to Change the Curriculum

This article justifies the urgent need to change the curriculum in the Philippines given the rapid pace of development in artificial intelligence and robotics in education. Read on to appreciate what robots can do in education and why there is a need to change the curriculum.

In 2017, my student in the Diploma in Teaching Course in Thailand gave me the idea how fast the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the world, particularly in the field of education. “Robots are coming our way! They are already here and might replace us – teachers in a very short period of time,” he said.

In Thailand, the use of artificial intelligence and robotics in education has been intensified as it pushes forward to digital economy era or the so-called, “The Age of Automation.” Yes, almost everything can be done with the use of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI)!

With the rapid expansion of technology and digital applications, we have now the robotic nurses and surgeons. We also have automated vehicles or driverless cars. There is also a translation app and a device that will automatically translate your utterances and be able to converse with foreigners in real time.

If we have robotic nurses, surgeons and translators, can we also have robotic teachers? What can AI and robotics do in the field of education?

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Education

1. Assessment

With softwares and apps available in the market, you can easily assess the performance of students. The use of Moodle, Edmodo, Google Classroom, and Schoology, among others can help you a lot in assessing students’ performance. Paper and pencil tests can easily be constructed in the Learning Management System. All you have to do is encode the questions, set the correct answer, and upload it. On the other hand, your students receive the test and answer it. Then, their scores will be displayed on their screens and on your screen as the subject teacher.

For written responses like essays, you can easily check and mark their papers even if you have a lot of students. You can also give immediate feedback whether their papers are plagiarized or have errors in grammar, spelling and mechanics.

There are also grammar and vocabulary games that would help determine your students’ level of proficiency. Proficiency tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, and TOEIC are in digital form. You can do a test preparation online or even take the actual test online in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

2. Personalization and Differentiation

In many Asian countries, large classes are evident. With 40 – 60 students, it is hard to treat students one by one and give them immediate feedback.

Nowadays, there are robots that can read the facial expressions of students whether they find the lessons difficult or not. Robots can also distinguish which students must be given extra lessons or a simplified explanation of the lesson.

You can also check class attendance through QR codes. If a student does not belong to your class, the app can give you information about the student’s classroom, subject and teacher. A notification is also sent to the parents if their children are present or not. All students’ records are in the dashboard so that the advisers can easily monitor their students’ over-all performance.

Likewise, parents can also keep track the progress of their children. There is a learning management system than can let parents monitor the performance of their children.

Thus, academic performance can easily be traced, monitored and evaluated by the teachers, students, and parents as well. Students are treated individually and able to excel in their academic pursuits.

3. Teaching and Learning

Robots are being developed as teaching assistants or real teachers. They can now deliver lectures like humans do! They can also give a lot of information and answer questions from the students.

In some cases, robots are used as instructional materials. For example, robotics are used in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) classes to explain the concepts and processes involved.

Robots can change the education landscape (Source: Designed by GraphicMama)

In a university that offers Technopreneurship Curriculum, both teachers and students can make their own robots, apps, or devices and sell them to interested individuals or companies. This kind of curriculum is getting popular in Korea and India, and hopefully in the Philippines.

Why Change the Curriculum

Anticipating automation and artificial intelligence in education, the curriculum must be changed. There is a need to train and retrain people to use new technologies that would require for new skills and competencies.

For example, schools around the world are now integrating the 21st Century skills such as communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration (4Cs) in their curricular programs. In this way, education is able to make people “humans.”

According to Jack Ma, “We can’t compete with robots in terms of knowledge. Teach people with soft skills such as teamwork, independent thinking, believing, and caring for others. These are the important skills that can distinguish us from robots”.

The kind of curriculum in the Philippines must change from content-driven into technology-driven curriculum coupled with skills and experiences. This means that  teachers must use technology (robots and AI) to facilitate the lesson; teach soft skills to students, and provide the students with the experiences in which they can create and innovate ideas through problem solving, research and development.

Now, let’s go back to the question raised by my student. Can robots replace us? Perhaps, they can take our jobs in the future. But are we going to allow this?

If our answer is “No”, then we  should use robots only as our tools to make things faster and easier for us. We need to equip ourselves with skills necessary to have a meaningful life – a kind of life that is stress-free and where we have more time to spend with our families and friends.


1. Leesa-nguansuk, Suchit. (June 5, 2017). AI at 4.0 forefront. Retrieved from

2. Lynch, Matthew. (May, 5, 2018). Seven roles for artificial intelligence in education. Retrieved from

3. Lynch, Matthew. (March 26, 2017). Five reasons to teach robotics in schools. Retrieved from

4. Manns, Mark. (December 11, 2017). Artificial intelligence: opportunities, threats and future learning. Retrieved from

5. Marr, Bernard. (July 25, 2018). How is AI used in education – real world examples of today and a peek into the future. Retrieved from

6. Utermohlen, Karl. (April 12, 2018). Four ways AI is changing the education industry. Retrieved from

7. World Economic Forum. (February 1, 2018). The future of education according to Jack Ma, Trudeau, and Malala. Retrieved from

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (October 17, 2018). Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Education: An Urgent Need to Change the Curriculum [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Variables of the Study in the Research Paradigm: Which Ones to Include?

One of the doctor in educational administration students in my advanced statistics class once asked: “How do you choose the variables of the study? Which ones should be included in the research paradigm?”

This concern comes up when dealing with research problems involving several variables. Such studies employ multivariate analysis like multiple regression, factor analysis, discriminant analysis, among others. Many quantitative dissertation papers use these statistical tests. Therefore, the variables of the study need to be properly identified prior to data gathering.

Of course, to put everything in its proper context, the paradigm of the study appears in the later part of the formal research paper. Choosing the variables of a study requires a good understanding of the topic under investigation. A good understanding of the topic comes after a thorough review of related literature. However, you need to be clear beforehand on what issues or problems you want to investigate.

Thus, choosing the variables that will form part of the paradigm requires clear thesis statements.  Given that the graduate students’ pursue a doctoral degree in educational administration, they must look into issues or problems related to their specialization.

In view of the foregoing, a doctor of education degree prepares individuals to serve as leaders in schools or colleges, or work for school districts or government organizations. Doctor of education holders usually do research for policy making purposes. Hence, exploration of educational administration topics precedes any research activity.

Variables of the Study

Research titles reflect the variables of the study. For example, the following issues or problems on educational administration may be looked into by graduate students of educational administration:

  1. Efficacy of peer supervision,
  2. Factors affecting the impact of professional development programs on teachers’ performance,
  3. Factors affecting students’ self-efficacy in elementary education,
  4. Classroom factors affecting students’ academic achievement, and
  5. Factors affecting the effective integration of information technology in the classroom.

The above titles expressly state or imply the variables of the study. Specifically, in the specific order given above, the variables considered include:

  1. peer supervision or arrangements where peers work together for mutual benefit;
  2. professional development programs, teachers’ performance;
  3. factors affecting students’ self-efficacy such as performance experience, vicarious experience, social persuasion, imaginal experience, and physical and emotional states (Bandura, 1988), students’ self efficacy;
  4. classroom factors, students’ achievement; and
  5. factors affecting the use of information technology, effectiveness of information technology.

Meanwhile, for statistical tests to be properly applied, the variables must be measurable. The variables belong to any of the four types of variables namely nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio.

Finally, an illustrated example hammers the idea in. The following paradigm demonstrates the relationship of variables in the study on students’ self-efficacy:

variables of the study
Factors affecting self-efficacy [Source: LaRocca (2017)].

Finally, I believe that practice makes perfect. Try to work on the other four examples to test your understanding.


Bandura, A. (1988). Organisational applications of social cognitive theory. Australian Journal of management, 13(2), 275-302.

LaRocca, B. (2017). Self-efficacy tookit. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from

© 2018 September 24 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (September 24, 2018). Variables of the Study in the Research Paradigm: Which Ones to Include? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from


Why undertake a literature review?

A literature review related to the topic chosen by researchers occupies an entire section of a thesis. Why undertake a thorough literature review? This article explains why.

The conduct of research requires a literature review. The review enables you, as a researcher, to get a good grasp of the topic at hand. Hence, to make the review useful in building up the conceptual framework of the thesis,  visiting libraries would be a good idea. Read the latest scientific journals relevant to the academic discipline where you belong. You may also surf the internet to read full scientific articles for free, especially with the preponderance of open access journals. You may also find Google Scholar very useful in finding related literature. Further, useful sources of information include government websites, particularly those that offer statistical data.

Reinventing the Wheel

Reviewing the literature prevents the duplication of previous work done on the topic identified.  Thus, literature review saves money, time and effort. It prevents the “reinvention of the wheel.” This idiomatic expression means that doing something that others have already done is a waste of time.

Landmark Papers: Most Cited

Researchers consider some research publications with high regard. These publications are referred to as landmark papers. Landmark, must-read, papers have become popular among researchers as sensible sources of information. Usually well-known authority figures in the field author these publications.

However, the popularity of a paper does not necessarily mean that the arguments, hypothesis or theories presented by that author eludes correction. Contemporary researchers, armed with new insights from evidences gathered through meticulous research or experimentation, can debunk the philosophies advanced by an authority figure and render them as myth.

Aristotle says it so.

Theories from well-known personalities can always be challenged as new information comes in. For example, Aristotle, one of the greatest intellectual figures of western history, proclaimed that women have fewer teeth than men. Of course, he missed counting the teeth to verify his statement.  Until… somebody challenged the idea by just suggesting “Let’s count.” A simple experiment ended the idea from a well-known figure.

Point of Saturation of the Literature Review

Familiarity with the research or investigation made by other researchers enables you to understand the issue at hand better. Upon reading a substantial number of research studies, there comes a point where no further new information could be gained. If you have experienced this, you have reached the point of saturation. Thus, you can confidently say that you have read enough scientific papers related to the topic.

In conclusion, the literature review sheds light on what has been done so far about the research topic. It reveals “gaps” that warrant further investigation. Good research practice presents this “gap” in knowledge in the introduction of the study. Statement of objectives or statements of the problem to address that gap follow. Hence, a follow-up study produces new information.

© 2018 August 19 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (August 22, 2018). Why undertake a literature review? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from

Factors Contributing to the Success of Palawan State University’s CPA Licensure Examinees


Since the inception of the CPA Licensure Examination, it has been one of the more difficult Licensure Examinations to hurdle. In the Philippines, it has been consistently ranked within the Top 10 of the Hardest Licensure Examinations. When Palawan State University was able to send BS-Accountancy graduates to take the licensure exam, it has been difficult for the said CPA candidates to pass the said examination. Studies in relation to the said topic have been done from the accreditation of a school’s accountancy program, the students’ habits, GWA/GPA and other characteristics were made. This study focused on the review period before the licensure examination of the CPA candidates. This study also identified factors that contribute to the success of a CPA candidate. Results show that two-thirds reviewed at RESA. Their preferred review session is the afternoon session. This study also showed that they spend more than 8 hours in the evening to prepare for the examination. They also understood the concept first before proceeding with practical application. The candidates also used self-assessment to evaluate themselves for the examination.

Keywords: BS-Accountancy, CPA, Strategies, Study Habits, Techniques


Early evidence of the existence of accounting can be traced 6,000 years ago. Discovery of rudimentary accounting records from temples in Lower Mesopotamia. In 1340, the double-entry accounting were discovered in the “Massari Ledgers” of the Commune of Genoa. This was earlier than Luca Pacioli’s “Summa” which was first published in 1494. Since the Massari Ledgers have little evidence of their validity, the Franciscan Friar and mathematician is still universally recognized as the “The Father of Accounting and Bookkeeping”.

Originating in England, the professional accountancy examinations are now standard in all countries recognizing accountancy as a profession. Candidates wanting to enter the profession must show his or her knowledge and proficiency in numerous accounting areas. The exam continues to evolve with the changing needs of the profession. In the future, the changing business and technological environment will demand higher level of skill set from entry level accountants. In the future, the CPA Examination must be designed to assure the knowledge, ability, and skill of the candidates taking the exam, so that the public will be protected and accountancy remain a respected profession (King, D. L., et al., 2017).

In the early 1900’s, the accounting profession realized the need of quality education and accounting work experience. The American Association of Public Accountants (AAPA), the precursor of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), realizing this necessity, developed a uniform CPA exam as an admission requirement to the profession. The giving out of uniform examinations has been adopted in the Philippines and all over the world before one may be admitted to the profession, although examinations may vary and additional requirements such as number of years of related experience may be necessary for admission.

A study reveals that practitioners support (1) setting national uniform requirement for education and job experience, (2) requiring college-level course(s) in ethics, and (3) requiring candidates to have courses in specific areas of accounting and non-accounting disciplines (Demagalhaes, et al., 2014). A study also suggests that auditors with Professional Accounting Education (PAE) background possess higher competency compared to those without. Supervisor, manager, and partner perceptions are better for those subordinates with PAE background. Further, findings supported to a certain extent that PAE has a significant role in enhancing professionalism in auditors (Utami, et al., 2011).

College accounting curricula have always stressed public accounting and the CPA exam. But with the emergence of new certification programs, potential accountants have a wide choice of professional designations to differentiate themselves. Despite the competition, the CPA is still the best recognized brand name among accounting students. But the CIA, CFE, and other certifications are catching up with and in some aspects surpassing the CMA recognition (Brody, et al., 2016).

Consistently, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Licensure Examination has been always ranked in the Top Ten Hardest Licensure Examination locally and abroad. In the Philippines, the Board of Accountancy (BOA) conducts the examination twice a year. Data from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) revealed that the highest exam passing percentage is 48% never hitting the 50% mark.

Since Palawan State University was able to produce accountancy graduates, it has consistently produced CPA Licensure Examination passers above the national passing percentage. There was always a retention policy but it was not strictly implemented during the late 1990s. The adverse result of non-implementation was when the university’s passing rate became lower than the national passing percentage. The lowest point was in the early 2000s when the university at times had no passers in the licensure examination.

The Uniformed CPA Examination is an objective measure that can be employed for evaluation purposes and that accrediting organizations should require disclosure of each accredited school’s UCPAE passing rate as requirement for accreditation. Further, findings also indicate that faith-based CCCU member schools performance is significantly higher than for-profit schools. This is attributable to small class sizes, active learning methods and additional mentoring by faculty at CCCU member schools (Hahn, et al., 2015).

Several studies were made to identify techniques and strategies of successful CPA Licensure exam passers, as well as factors surrounding success in hurdling the said examination. This research focused on external factors such as the review school, habits, techniques and strategies during review.

The objectives of this study are to know (1) the review school the successful CPA examinees enrolled in and what is their schedule; (2) the time of the day and the number of hours the successful CPA examinee study; (3) the number hours the successful CPA examinee sleeps; (4) the techniques and strategies that successful CPA examinee used during the preparation for the licensure examination; and (5) how did the successful CPA examinee assess his/her readiness to take the CPA Licensure Examination.



The research used descriptive quantitative method of research. It described the factors contributing to the success of PSU’s CPA Licensure Exam candidates covering the period from 2013 to 2017. It was conducted with graduates of Palawan State University who successfully passed the CPA Licensure Exam covering the period from May 2013 to October 2017. The respondents will be the total population which were the successful passers of the CPA Licensure Exams for the said period.


The participants of this study are the successful candidates of the CPA Licensure examination covering the period from May 2013 to October 2017. The questionnaires were distributed to 108 CPAs who successfully passed the CPA board examination in the said period. Out of the total population, 55 or 51% replied.

Data Collection

A survey questionnaire was distributed to the respondents. The said questionnaire was sent thru Google Survey and Facebook to all respondents including those located outside of Puerto Princesa City and Palawan. The list of respondents was acquired from the records of the Department of Accountancy of Palawan State University. To summarize the results of the data gathering, tables and figures were used.

Statistical Analysis and Variables

Data were analyzed using the descriptive statistics embedded in the IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 19. The study used the frequency count percentages to describe the responses. The frequency count was used to find out the number of responses given to a particular question. Percentages were used to convert the frequency counts. As for the other data, tables and figures were used to show the results of the data gathering.


I. No. of times took the CPA Licensure Exam

The descriptive statistics below show 55 valid responses with no missing entries or respondents. As illustrated below, a great majority (n = 39, 70.9%) of them took the CPA Licensure Examination once, (n = 12, 21.8%) took the exam twice, and the remaining (n=4, 7.3%) took the examination thrice.

Table 1. Number of times the CPA board exam was taken.

II. Review Center

Table 2 shows the frequency and percentage distribution of the respondents’ preference as to Review Center. A great majority of the respondents (n = 44, 80%) enrolled in RESA for their review. The second with most number of respondents (n=8, 14.5%) is CPAR. Other review schools has the third most respondents (n=2, 3.6%) while PRTC only has 1 respondent (n=1, 3.6%).

Table 2. Review centers enrolled in.

III. Review Session

As reflected in Table 3 shows the frequency and percentage distribution of respondents’ preferred review session. Great majority of respondents (n = 40, 72.7%) suggests that they preferred the afternoon session of their respective review school. The next preferred schedule by respondents (n=9, 16.4%) is the morning session. The remaining respondents preferred to enroll in the evening (n=4, 7.3%) and the weekend (n=2, 3.6%) sessions, respectively.

Table 3. Review session enrolled in.

IV. Preferred study time

As illustrated in Table 4 below which illustrates the respondents’ preferred time to review and study, it appears that most of the respondents (n=22, 40%) preferred 6 pm to 12 am as the time to study. The second most number of respondents (n=17, 30.9%) chose 6 am to 12 pm to review while the remaining respondents (n=8, 14.5%) are equally distributed to 12 am to 6 am, and 12 pm to 6 pm, respectively.

Table 4. Preferred review time.

V. Hours spent for Study

Table V below shows how many hours the respondents spend studying for the CPA Board Examination. All respondents study for more than 2 hours. Most respondents (n=23, 41.8%) study more than 8 hours, other respondents (n=20, 36.4%) study from 4 to 8 hours while several respondents (n=12, 21.8%) study from 2 to 4 hours.

Table 5. Hours spent reviewing per day.

VI. Hours spent for Rest

Demonstrated in the table below is the average number of hours of rest by each respondent. Majority of the respondents (n=41, 74.5%) takes about 4 to 8 hours of rest per day while almost a dozen respondents (n=11, 20%) choose to rest for more than 8 hours. Only few respondents (n=3, 5.5%) choose to rest for less than 4 hours.

Table 6. Hours of sleep per day.

VII. Place of Review

Demonstrated in the succeeding table is the preferred place of review by the respondents. Almost all respondents (n=45, 81.8%) chose to review at home or at their boarding house. Other respondents (n=7, 12.7 %) study at the review center while other places has the fewest number of respondents (n=3, 5.5%) chose.

Table 7. Preferred place to review.

VIII. Review Materials Used

In Table 8, this table illustrates the type of review material that CPA examinees choose to use. Considering that they are in review, respondents (n=26, 47.3%) use review center handouts. Second most preferred by respondents are reviewers (n=16, 29.1%) while personal notes (n=7, 12.7%) come in third and least preferred by respondents are textbooks (n=5, 9.1%).

Table 8. Preferred review material.

IX. Review Structure

The Table below shows the respondents’ preferred review structure. Most respondents (n=37, 67.3%) study by understanding the concepts first before they proceed to practice. Several respondents (n=15, 27.3%) study by doing the same simultaneously. Fewest respondents (n=3, 5.5%) chose to study by answering the problems first before understanding concept.

Table 9. Preferred review structure.

X. Review Strategy

Illustrated below is Table 10 shows the preferred review strategies by the respondents. Majority of the respondents (n=29, 52.7%) chose self-review as review strategy. Some respondents (n=15, 27.3%) combined the review strategies while the remaining respondents (n=11, 20%) chose the pace of the review center as strategy.

Table 10. Preferred review strategy.

XI. Review Evaluation

The following table below show how the respondents assessed their readiness for the CPA Licensure Examination. Majority of the respondents (n=36, 65.5%) use self-evaluation to assess themselves for the board exam. The second most number of respondents (n=17, 30.9%) use the pre-board examination to assess their readiness while the remaining respondents (n=2, 3.6%) chose other means to assess themselves.

Table 11. Readiness to take the licensure examination.

XII. Review Techniques

Review techniques are the methods and means used by the respondents during their review for the CPA Licensure Examination. The figure shown below shows the different techniques utilized by the respondents to successfully pass the CPA Board Examination. Respondents were able to use different techniques as shown below. The most utilized techniques are Reading and Making Notes (n=49, 89.1%) followed closely by Practice Questions (n=48, 87.3%), next is the preparation of Outlines (n=38, 69.1%) and the utilization of Formulas (n=36, 65.5%. To round the preferred review techniques by the respondents, the least preferred is Highlighting (n=32, 58.2%), Memorization (n=25, 45%), and Mnemonics (n=25, 45%).

Figure 1. Review techniques used by the examinees.


Related researches have been done but studies which focuses mainly with Bachelor of Science in Accountancy program has been limited. It is common knowledge that BSA graduates feel incomplete when they do not pass the CPA Licensure Exam. Hence, with this research identifies several factors, indicators and habits which contribute to the success of an examinee. The findings are significant to both students and teachers alike. Considering that the study identifies certain habits that should be developed by a student to successfully pass the licensure examination and that may also be useful during their student life.

Usually, the larger, more well-known schools has more number of sections passed. The percentage passing rate per student is a better indicator of a candidate’s success than total number of sections passed. Further, several non-accredited institutions have the highest passing rates. (Heslop, G., et al., 2014) Achieving and maintaining requirement for separate AACSB accounting accreditation is a challenge for administrators and faculty of accounting programs. The decision for an accounting program to seek accreditation is a challenge for administrators. But study shows that CPA candidates from AACSB accredited business schools achieved higher overall passing rates and higher average scores for 2012 and 2011 compared to non-accredited schools. These suggest that the former attracts better quality and better preparing the students for the CPA exam. (Bunker, et al., 2014)
As for demographic profile and status, the examinees are mostly female, young, scholar, from families with low monthly income, with good GWA, and coming from prestigious review schools. Student and family factors greatly affect their performance while school factors have average influence. Student scholarship, GWA, and attendance to prestigious review schools are positive factors in passing the CPA board while the examinees profile as to age, gender, and family’s monthly income shows no significant relationship (Herrero, 2015).

Demographic profile of college students has drastically changed in recent years. Economic conditions, and other relevant factors has increased non-traditional students. Majors such as accounting has presented as a challenge to non-traditional learners but enrollment still increase due to the promise of job placement and above-average salary. However, these students test on exams, and professional exam, like the CPA exam is a difficult hurdle for these learners supported by the declining passing rate with the increase in age. Thus, to increase the formers chances, it becomes necessary for programs to adjust methods of content delivery and preparation (Franklin, et al., 2016).

We found that beyond general intelligence, and important predictors such as personality type, working in public accounting, and preferring the audit discipline over tax. It is also likely that Fiery Red personality type may not successfully pass the CPA Exam compared to Cool Blue personality type. Incentives and penalties offered by accounting firms also contribute to passing the exam. But knowing one’s personality type can be of advantage to a candidate considering that he/she may use it to maximize his/her strengths to pass the CPA examination (Burton 2014).

Findings suggest that a student’s successful board exam can be predicted by the GPA and pre-review grade. It also suggests that since pre-review and GPA can predict the outcome of the CPA Board exam, pre-review course can be integrated in the curriculum. (Tamayo, et al., 2014)Study also shows that CPA exam passing rates of women are generally lower than male. In addition, passing rates decrease with age but it is more pronounced in females. (Franklin, et al., 2017) Based in literature review, the current structure of the CPA Exam with more objective type questions favor males’ information processing tendencies, while simulations support females’ information processing tendencies. (Myers, 2018). The study also supports that a young male candidate from an accredited college or university having to take one exam section had higher probability for success than any other candidate (Trinkle, 2016). A study also found that graduate degree candidates have higher pass rates compared to candidates who earned undergraduate degree (Menk, et al., 2017).

But the measure of success usually lies in the student. It was found that majority of accounting students perceived their intrinsic goals as measure of success than extrinsic goals. It was also found that accounting students, and who would later become professional accountants, were not sufficiently aware of the importance of thinking/judgment skills. Thus, accounting education should integrate more unstructured and problem based learning materials to the accounting curriculum. Further, accounting students rely on their own abilities and blame themselves for their failure. Hence, accounting schools should facilitate initial orientation and provide avenues to develop self-management and methods on how to prepare for their lessons. These will help students in building confidence in the way they approach their studies. (Sugahara, et al., 2014) There is significant relationship between intrinsic motivation and students’ academic performance. In addition, extrinsic motivation shows positive outcome where students are eager to get reward or achievement. Besides that, self-efficacy also has significant relationship with academic performance. High confidence levels assist students to perform better in their academic performance. Further, learning styles are proven to exert significant relationship with students’ academic performance. This indicates that study techniques play an important part in the learning process to ensure better results. However, gender and prior academic performance have no significant relationship to present academic performance (Remali, et al., 2013).

The study also shows students of Accountancy program view the program as stepping stone for them to achieve the desires they want to attain. Hence, they have favorable attitude toward it despite its difficulty. The CPA license is the achievement and students persist toward that goal thru studying hard while in college, coupled with positive attitude and behavior towards accounting. The positive attitude toward accounting with effective study habits might lead to higher grades, graduate, and later pass the board examination. Freshmen should also have passion, because no matter how effective other factors is, what will make them successful in the field of accounting is their love for the said field. Further, students are weak in Practical Accounting and this can be attributed to lack of hands-on experience on the real life aspect of accounting. But generally, good academic performance, positive attitude and effective study habits give an assurance of passing the CPA board exam (Ballado-Tan, 2014).

Further, the results of this study revealed that 70% of the respondents took the CPA Licensure Exam once and the rest are repeaters. The preferred review school is RESA with CPAR as the next most enrolled in review school by the respondents. The ideal review session is the afternoon session which garnered 72.7% of the respondents followed by morning session with 16.4%. The preferred review time of the respondents is somewhat distributed with 38.2% studying around 6 pm to 12 am, 32.7% studying around 6 am to 12 pm, and 14.5% for those studying around 12 am to 6 am, and 12 pm to 6 pm. As for number of hours spent in studying, 41.8% of the respondents study more than 8 hours, 36.4% of the respondents study between 4 to 8 hours, and 21.8% of the respondents study between 2 to 4 hours. It is also found that the respondents prefer to study at home (85.5%) while others study at the review center (12.7%).

With regards to the study structure, 65.5% of the respondents understood the concepts first before going to practical questions while 27.3% of the respondents study simultaneously both concepts and practical questions. Most preferred review materials are Review Center Handouts (46.3%) and Reviewers (31.5%). Majority (49.1%) of the respondents do self-review while the rest is with review school (21.8%) and combination review (29.1%). The studying techniques are arranged from most preferred to least preferred in the following: Reading and Making Notes (89.1%); Practice Questions (87.3%); Outlines (69.1%); Formulas (65.5%); Highlighting (58.2%); and, Memorization (45.5%) and Mnemonics (45.5%).

Lastly, the respondents on assessing their readiness for the CPA Licensure Exam, 63.6% self-evaluate themselves and 32.7% of respondents evaluate themselves thru the Pre-Board Examination results.


The present study aims to find factors that contribute to the success of Palawan State University’s CPA candidates. The study identified the preferred review center and session the former enrolled in. In addition, other factors such as hours of studying and resting, as well as the time of the day the respondents prefer to do the aforementioned. Lastly, strategy and techniques were also identified and how many times it took for the candidate to pass the CPA Licensure Examination. Data gathered thru Google Survey was analyzed using SPSS Version 19.

The findings showed that more than two-thirds of the successful examinees took the exam only once and were enrolled in the afternoon session of RESA Review School. As for studying, they prefer to self-review at home and spends more than 8 hours in the evening studying. Successful examinees also understood the concept first before applying the same in practical application and the preferred review techniques were reading, making notes and answering practical questions. To assess their readiness for the licensure examination, they conduct self-evaluation. As for determining if they have enough rest, the respondents may have under 8 hours but the difference is not that big if compared to normal hours of sleep.


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Cite this article as: Chua, Peterwille T. (August 11, 2018). Factors Contributing to the Success of Palawan State University’s CPA Licensure Examinees [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from