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Efficacy of Role Play in Concert with Lecture to Enhance Student Learning of Immunology

    Author: Samantha L. Elliott1,*
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, MD 20686
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 20 December 2010
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, 18952 E. Fisher Rd. St. Mary’s City, Maryland 20686. Phone: (240) 895-4376. Fax: (240) 895-4776. E-mail: [email protected].
    • Copyright © 2010 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 113-118. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.211
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    Abstract:

    Despite numerous reports that active learning increases student understanding, many barriers still exist that prevent faculty from shedding the traditional passive lecture and adopting active learning strategies in the classroom. This study looks at the use of role play as an active learning technique to convey new material, or as reinforcement to traditional lecture. A pre- and post-test survey was utilized to determine student learning gains, along with an anonymous survey to determine student attitudes about role play. Student learning gains are similar regardless of class size, role-playing participation or learning style, and reflect an increase in lower order cognition. Attitudes and learning gains indicate role play is preferable as a reinforcement technique, although the order does not matter if both lecture and role play are utilized to convey information. These data provide insight into the best practices of role-playing implementation in concert with traditional lecture format.

Key Concept Ranking

Immune Response
0.9246446
Cell Division
0.497556
Immune Cells
0.46068132
0.9246446

References & Citations

1. Alden D 1999 Experience with scripted role play in environmental economics J Econ Educ Spring 127 132
2. Armbruster P, Patel M, Johnson E, Weiss M 2009 Active learning and student-centered pedagogy improve student attitudes and performance in introductory biology CBE Life Sci Educ 8 203 213 10.1187/cbe.09-03-0025 19723815 2736024 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.09-03-0025
3. Aubusson P, Fogwill S, Barr R, Perkovic L 1997 What happens when students do simulation-role-play in science? Research in Science Education 27 565 579 10.1007/BF02461481 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02461481
4. Bealer J, Bealer V 1996 Acting out immunity: a s imulation of a complicated concept Am Biol Teacher 58 360 362 10.2307/4450177 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/4450177
5. Bonwell CC, Eisen JA 1991 Active learning: creating excitement in the classroom ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No 1. Washington DC The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development
6. Chinnici JP, Yue JW, Torres KM 2004 Students as “human chromosomes” in role playing mitosis and meiosis Am Biol Teacher 66 35 39
7. Crowe A, Dirks C, Wenderoth MP 2008 Biology in bloom: implementing Bloom’s taxonomy to enhance student learning in biology CBE Life Sci Educ 7 368 381 10.1187/cbe.08-05-0024 19047424 2592046 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.08-05-0024
8. DeNeve KM, Heppner MJ 1997 Role play simulations: the assessment of an active learning technique and comparisons with traditional lectures Innovative Higher Education 21 231 246 10.1007/BF01243718 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01243718
9. Firooznia F 2007 The story of the Calvin Cycle: bringing carbon fixation to life Am Biol Teacher 69 364 367 10.1662/0002-7685(2007)69[364:TSOTCC]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2007)69[364:TSOTCC]2.0.CO;2
10. Lean J, Moizer J, Towler M, Abbey C 2006 Simulations and games: use and barriers in higher education Active Learning in Higher Education 7 227 242 10.1177/1469787406069056 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1469787406069056
11. McCarthy JP, Anderson L 2000 Active learning techniques versus traditional teaching styles: two experiments from history and political science Innovative Higher Education 24 279 294 10.1023/B:IHIE.0000047415.48495.05 http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:IHIE.0000047415.48495.05
12. McSharry G, Jones S 2000 Role-play in science teaching and learning School Science Review 82 73 82
13. Michael J 2007 Faculty perceptions about barriers to active learning College Teaching 55 42 47 10.3200/CTCH.55.2.42-47 http://dx.doi.org/10.3200/CTCH.55.2.42-47
14. Ross PM, Tronson DA, Ritchie RJ 2008 Increasing conceptual understanding of glycolysis and the Krebs cycle using role-play Am Biol Teacher 70 163 168 10.1662/0002-7685(2008)70[163:ICUOGT]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2008)70[163:ICUOGT]2.0.CO;2

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.211
2010-12-20
2019-01-21

Abstract:

Despite numerous reports that active learning increases student understanding, many barriers still exist that prevent faculty from shedding the traditional passive lecture and adopting active learning strategies in the classroom. This study looks at the use of role play as an active learning technique to convey new material, or as reinforcement to traditional lecture. A pre- and post-test survey was utilized to determine student learning gains, along with an anonymous survey to determine student attitudes about role play. Student learning gains are similar regardless of class size, role-playing participation or learning style, and reflect an increase in lower order cognition. Attitudes and learning gains indicate role play is preferable as a reinforcement technique, although the order does not matter if both lecture and role play are utilized to convey information. These data provide insight into the best practices of role-playing implementation in concert with traditional lecture format.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Comparison of role-playing efficacy in small and large classes. Students in an Introductory Biology classes (A, n = 107) and two upper-level Immunology classes (B, n = 34) answered multiple-choice questions on basic knowledge before and after the role play exercise. All students in Immunology participated, while only a subset of Introductory Biology students directly performed the role play. While upper-level students scored significantly higher on the pre-test, both classes performed equally on the post-test.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 113-118. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.211
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Analysis of order of information. There is not a significant difference in the pre-test or post-test 2 between students who saw lecture or role play first. Each type was a significant learning event — more questions were answered correctly on post-test 1 after the pre-test. Students who experienced lecture first (n = 128) tested significantly higher by scoring one more question correct compared to students who saw role play first (n = 130).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 113-118. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.211
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

Anonymous survey of student attitudes. More students who experienced role play first (A, n = 107) wanted the order of information changed, as compared to students who heard lecture first (B, n = 116). However, both groups responded similarly to the usefulness of the role play in their learning (C). The Likert scale ranged from 1 (no help) to 5 (great help).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 113-118. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.211
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Image of FIGURE 4

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FIGURE 4

Learning gains of students who participated in role play as compared to those that observed their peers: (A) students who experienced lecture first (participated n = 30, observed n = 98); (B) students who experienced role play first (participated n = 32, observed n = 95). In both sections, there are no significant differences in the scores of students who directly participated compared to the students who observed the role play.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 113-118. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.211
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Image of FIGURE 5

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FIGURE 5

Analysis of lower and higher order cognitive thinking. Students’ answers to test questions were subdivided into basic knowledge recall (A) and application of knowledge (B) questions. Significant increases in learning gains in both types of questions between the pre- and post-tests regardless of whether they experienced lecture or role play first. Similar to Fig. 2 , students who experienced role play first scored lower on basic knowledge recall compared to students who experienced lecture first. No other differences were seen.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 113-118. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.211
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Image of FIGURE 6

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FIGURE 6

Learning style demographics of students in Introductory Biology. Students self-reported their learning style after taking the VARK online survey: (A) learning style demographics of the 282 Introductory Biology students from Fall 2008 and 2009; (B) learning styles of students who directly participated in the role play demonstration.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 113-118. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.211
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Image of FIGURE 7

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FIGURE 7

Analysis of scores based upon learning style. No significant differences were seen in the pre-test and post-test 2 scores of students who saw lecture and role play. As in Fig. 2 , students who experienced lecture first did significantly better on post-test 1 (P1) than students who experienced role play. This was seen throughout all learning styles, indicating that the improvement was independent of being an aural (A), kinesthetic (B), read/write (C), or visual (D) learner.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 113-118. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.211
Download as Powerpoint

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