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ERIC Number: EJ923404
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-1931-7913
Combining Peer Discussion with Instructor Explanation Increases Student Learning from In-Class Concept Questions
Smith, M. K.; Wood, W. B.; Krauter, K.; Knight, J. K.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v10 n1 p55-63 Mar 2011
Use of in-class concept questions with clickers can transform an instructor-centered "transmissionist" environment to a more learner-centered constructivist classroom. To compare the effectiveness of three different approaches using clickers, pairs of similar questions were used to monitor student understanding in majors' and nonmajors' genetics courses. After answering the first question individually, students participated in peer discussion only, listened to an instructor explanation only, or engaged in peer discussion followed by instructor explanation, before answering a second question individually. Our results show that the combination of peer discussion followed by instructor explanation improved average student performance substantially when compared with either alone. When gains in learning were analyzed for three ability groups of students (weak, medium, and strong, based on overall clicker performance), all groups benefited most from the combination approach, suggesting that peer discussion and instructor explanation are synergistic in helping students. However, this analysis also revealed that, for the nonmajors, the gains of weak performers using the combination approach were only slightly better than their gains using instructor explanation alone. In contrast, the strong performers in both courses were not helped by the instructor-only approach, emphasizing the importance of peer discussion, even among top-performing students. (Contains 6 tables and 5 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado