ERIC Number: EJ1166218
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Abstractor: As Provided
Promoting Mastery of Complex Biological Mechanisms
Bradshaw, William S.; Groneman, Kathryn J.; Nelson, Jennifer; Bell, John D.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v46 n1 p7-21 Jan-Feb 2018
This article describes efforts aimed at improving comprehension and retention of complex molecular mechanisms commonly studied in undergraduate biology and biochemistry courses. The focus is on the design of appropriate assessments, an active classroom emphasizing formative practice, and more effective out-of-class study habits. Assessments that require students to articulate their understanding through writing are the most effective. Frequent formative practice improves performance on problems that require intellectual transfer, the ability to apply conceptual principles in novel settings. We show that success with such problems is a function of mastery of the intrinsic logic of the biology in play, not variations in the way they are written. Survey data demonstrate that many students would prefer a learning style not dominated by memorization of factual details, but how to develop a more effective strategy is rarely intuitive. Matching individual students with specific learning styles has not proven useful. Instead, teachers can strongly promote individual metacognitive appraisal during both classroom activities and other study environments.
Descriptors: Mastery Learning, Science Instruction, Cognitive Style, Metacognition, Class Activities, Molecular Structure, Molecular Biology, Scientific Concepts, Retention (Psychology), Biochemistry, Evaluation Methods, Student Surveys, Student Attitudes, Writing (Composition), Teaching Methods, Undergraduate Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: P116B041238