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ERIC Number: EJ804026
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-1555-7855
The Effects of Learn Units on Student Performance in Two College Courses
Bahadourian, Ara John; Tam, Kai Yung; Greer, R. Douglas; Rousseau, Marilyn K.
International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, v2 n2 p246-264 2006
We report an experiment examining the academic performance of undergraduate students in two special education college courses. The experimenter/professor taught both courses in which he presented curriculum material via written learn units (LUs) (Greer & Hogin, 1999) or in a lecture format across randomly selected weeks in a 12-week semester. There were a total of 20 students (11 in the Emotional Disturbance course, 9 in the ABA course) primarily juniors and seniors majoring in special education ranging in age from 20 to 48. The independent variable consisted of a series of written LUs presented to students in the form of guided notes that were scripted in logical sequence (based upon textbook material). LUs were defined as a series of meshed or interlocking 3-term contingencies 1 for the student and at least 2 for the professor arranged through scripted curricula. During the LU condition, the professor (1) read a phrase or question from the guided notes (with blank lines) that were distributed to students, (2) discussed the phrase or question, (3) exposed the phrase/question and its corresponding answer on the overhead, (4) provided an opportunity for all students to respond by writing/copying the answer, and (5) then immediately consequated their answers by checking their accurate completion of the blank line. During the lecture condition, the professor lectured (from the material obtained from the textbook chapter) without providing any written LUs. The dependent variable was student grade achievement on weekly short answer essay exams. Interobserver agreement for independent scoring of the dependent variable for the ABA exams was 97%. Interobserver agreement for independent scoring of the dependent variable for the ED exams was 95%. The mean percentage of procedural integrity for the ABA course was 88% ranging from 83% to 100%. The mean percentage of procedural integrity for the ED course was 100%. In the ABA course, the mean percentage correct on exams was 83% during the LU class sessions and 68% during the lecture sessions. In the ED course, the mean percentage correct on exams was 84% during LU class sessions and 74% during lecture sessions. Social validity measures indicated high student satisfaction with the learn unit instructional procedure. These results were discussed in terms of the potential utility of the learn unit as a microanalytic measure of both teaching and learning particularly for subject matter in higher education containing specificity in terminology (i.e., factual and scientific content). (Contains 4 figures.
Joseph Cautilli, Ph.D. & The Behavior Analyst Online Organization. 535 Queen Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147-3220. Tel: 215-462-6737; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A