PhD in LTEC and American Accounting Association Dissertation Award Winner

Tialei Scanlan

“LTEC has provided me with the skills to be a mixed-methods researcher.”


Lā‘ie, HI


Learning Design and Technology

Related Degrees

  • PhD, Learning Design & Technology

Where do you work?
I am the program lead and an assistant professor in accounting at Brigham Young University–Hawaiʻi.

How did you become interested in the field of Learning Design and Technology?
I became interested in the field of LTEC at UH Mānoa because of their rigorous program offered in a hybrid learning environment. Additionally, I had taught classes online that were not engaging and that I knew could use improvement.

Do you participate in any clubs or organizations in or outside of school?
I’m a member of Pi Lambda Theta. I also volunteer with the Hawaiʻi Society of CPA’s with various outreach activities, including service projects and teaching Junior Achievement to 2nd and 3rd graders (program that teaches money basics and entrepreneurship).

How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
LTEC has helped me to bring engagement and novel ideas into the classroom. I gained technical knowledge in my undergraduate and master’s program, but I didn’t have much experience in academic research. In LTEC, I was taught learning theories and research fundamentals that equipped me with critical skills to evaluate and conduct research. Although I see myself as a highly quantitative person because of my accounting background, I have conducted multiple studies with qualitative data analysis. LTEC has provided me with the skills to be a mixed-methods researcher.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue your current career?
I strive to facilitate learning and improve performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources within my courses. I am especially grateful for my dissertation chairs Dr. Mike Menchaca and the late Dr. Christine Sorensen Irvine. They have been very influential and inspirational while on my LTEC journey, as well as the whole LTEC ʻOhana. My parents Hiagi and Susan Wesley have also inspired me to pursue higher learning and teaching as both of them have been teachers before. Additionally, my mentor and colleague Dr. Jennifer Chen inspired me to pursue a PhD and has been there for every milestone. My current higher learning institution/employer also supported me in pursuing my degree in LTEC.

You recently won an American Accounting Association award for your dissertation. Can you briefly describe your research area that led to this award?
My dissertation is a study examining the impact of gamification, specifically badging, in an undergraduate accounting course. Gamification often offers promises of motivation, engagement, fun, and even higher performance and is entering just about every sector (e.g., education, social media, fitness, etc.). The study found no significant differences in student motivation, behavioral engagement, and academic performance. However, females exhibited different motivation and behavioral patterns compared to males. While some students appreciated recognition through badges, others found no value in them. The study suggests that badging may not significantly impact motivation, behavioral engagement, and performance in an introductory accounting course.

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