Personalized Elective Selection: A Multi-Criteria Perspective in Academia

Personalized Elective Selection: A Multi-Criteria Perspective in Academia

Prajwal Eachempati (Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak, India) and Praveen Ranjan Srivastava (Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/IJSDS.2019100103


This paper aims to recommend the appropriate elective subjects for management students keeping in mind their personalized priorities assigned to factors that influence their decision making. For achieving this objective, a hybrid multi-criteria technique fuzzy analytical hierarchy process and evaluation based on distance from average (EDA) has been adopted to analyze the criteria and determine the appropriate electives. The results of the study reveal that in different scenarios, based on the different priorities assigned by students, the choice of elective also varies. From a practical standpoint, the proposed model will help students in determining suitable subject choices in a real-time decision-making scenario and can be automated to provide quick dynamic decisions to students when they are faced with this challenge.
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Educational Psychology is a domain in pedagogy that provides principles and theories pertaining to the psychological conditioning and thought processes of stakeholders in an academic environment like teachers, students etc. (Entwistle, N., & Ramsden, P.,2015).

The students have to undergo different phases of decision-making in their academic pursuits of which, taking a decision regarding elective subjects at the college level is a critical one since these subjects are vital to not only provide knowledge but also to shape the personality of the student and prepare him/her for the competitive world.

The factors that influence the decision-making (Khatwani, G., & Srivastava, P. R., 2015; Ognjanovic, I., Gasevic, D., & Dawson, S,2016; Taylor, R. C.,2015) regarding choice of elective subjects in college may be due to various factors in different scenarios. People consider different options based on their pre-conceived notion and perceptions about the importance of the elective subject. There are decision-making systems which are static and do not consider the individual preferences of students to provide a decision regarding elective choice in an automated manner.

In the light of this notion, there is a need to investigate the factors that influence the elective subject choice of students by considering factors like Credit Constraint, Interest in Domain, Industry Talks and Usefulness for Placement and how the factors interplay in the mind of the student based on his emotional conditioning and thought process and how he/she prioritizes the factors and makes a tradeoff between them to choose an appropriate subject. Thus, a proposed personalized elective selection system is to be constructed to take into account the customized preferences. Since there are many factors/criteria which are to be considered which may also involve evaluating the benefit-cost analysis of the factors, a multi-criteria (Rabbani, M., Davoudkhani, M & Farrokhi-Asl, H., 2017; Govindan, K., Rajendran, S., Sarkis, J., & Murugesan, P., 2015) scenario is formulated where the interplay of different factors influencing the elective decisions for different electives is envisaged to evaluate the priority of factors and which subject is the best alternative. The priority of factors would differ for different students therefore the alternatives are modelled keeping in mind the factor priorities are defined for each student which forms the main objective for the study.

For performing such multi-criteria(Tajadod, M., Abedini, M., Rategari, A., & Mobin, M.,2016; Jatoth, C., Gangadharan, G. R., Fiore, U., & Buyya, R, 2019; Zhang, L., Xin, H., Yong, H., & Kan, Z.,2019; Kalsi, N. S., Sehgal, R., & Sharma, V. S., 2013) decision-making, a hybrid multi-criteria Fuzzy Analytical Hierarchy process(F-AHP) and Evaluation based on Distance from Average (EDA) model is envisaged which will enable the evaluation of multiple criteria and multiple alternatives taking into account the diverse criteria preferences of students from primary data and assign priorities to the factors that should influence the decision-making of students and rank the electives as per the scores provided by the students to each criteria.

The rest of the paper is structured as follows.

The literature review elucidating the existing works done to investigate the factors affecting elective decision is presented followed by the preliminaries section describing the techniques adopted in the paper. This is followed by the proposed hybrid multi-criteria fuzzy AHP-EDA model (Ocampo, L., Clark, E., & Tanudtanud, K. V., 2015) in next section. Subsequently, the methodology that is undertaken for the multi-criteria study (Iacovou, C. L., Shirland, L., & Thompson, R.,2010; John, J., & Kumar, S.,2016) is detailed. The results and implications simulated for different student scenarios are illustrated next with the scope for future research.

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