1887

The Use of Group Activities in Introductory Biology Supports Learning Gains and Uniquely Benefits High-Achieving Students

    Authors: Gili Marbach-Ad1,*, Carly H. Rietschel2, Neeti Saluja1, Karen L. Carleton3, Eric S. Haag3
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; 2: Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; 3: Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 02 December 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: 1328 Symons Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742. Phone: 301-405-2075. Fax: 301-405-1655. E-mail: gilim@umd.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 360-369. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1071
MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.
  • XML
  • HTML
    74.53 Kb
  • PDF
    4.89 MB

    Abstract:

    This study describes the implementation and effectiveness of small-group active engagement (GAE) exercises in an introductory biology course (BSCI207) taught in a large auditorium setting. BSCI207 (Principles of Biology III—Organismal Biology) is the third introductory core course for Biological Sciences majors. In fall 2014, the instructors redesigned one section to include GAE activities to supplement lecture content. One section ( = 198) employed three lectures per week. The other section ( = 136) replaced one lecture per week with a GAE class. We explored the benefits and challenges associated with implementing GAE exercises and their relative effectiveness for unique student groups (e.g., minority students, high- and low-grade point average [GPA] students). Our findings show that undergraduates in the GAE class exhibited greater improvement in learning outcomes than undergraduates in the traditional class. Findings also indicate that high-achieving students experienced the greatest benefit from GAE activities. Some at-risk student groups (e.g., two-year transfer students) showed comparably low learning gains in the course, despite the additional support that may have been afforded by active learning. Collectively, these findings provide valuable feedback that may assist other instructors who wish to revise their courses and recommendations for institutions regarding prerequisite coursework approval policies.

Key Concept Ranking

Slides
0.896794
Transcription
0.7589328
Chemicals
0.72644114
Fitness
0.7180452
Beta
0.62385666
Lead
0.5416667
Stems
0.48827073
0.896794

References & Citations

1. AAMC-HHMI Scientific Foundation for Future Physicians2009AAMC/HHMI committee defines scientific competencies for future physiciansWashington, DC[Online.] http://www.hhmi.org/grants/sffp.html
2. American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS]2011Vision and change in undergraduate biology education: a call to action: a summary of recommendations made at a national conference organized by the American Association for the Advancement of ScienceJuly 15–17, 2009Washington, DC[Online.] www.visionandchange.org/VC_report.pdf
3. Association of American Universities [AAU]2011Undergraduate education STEM initiative[Online.] https://stemedhub.org/groups/aauAccessed 2 October 2015.
4. Belzer S, Miller M, Shoemake S2003Concepts in biology: a supplemental study skills course designed to improve introductory students’ skills for learning biologyAm Biol Teach651304010.1662/0002-7685(2003)065[0030:CIBASS]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2003)065[0030:CIBASS]2.0.CO;2
5. Brownell SE, Kloser MJ, Fukami T, Shavelson RJ2013Context matters: volunteer bias, small sample size, and the value of comparison groups in the assessment of research-based undergraduate introductory biology lab coursesJ Microbiol Biol Educ14217610.1128/jmbe.v14i2.609243583803867754 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.609
6. Crouch CH, Mazur E2001Peer instruction: ten years of experience and resultsAm J Phys69997097710.1119/1.1374249 http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1374249
7. Deslauriers L, Schelew E, Wieman C2011Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics classScience332603186286410.1126/science.120178321566198 http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1201783
8. Dori YJ, Belcher J2005How does technology-enabled active learning affect undergraduate students’ understanding of electromagnetism concepts?J Learn Sci14224327910.1207/s15327809jls1402_3 http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15327809jls1402_3
9. Eddy S, Hogan K2014Getting under the hood: how and for whom does increasing course structure work?CBE Life Sci Educ13453468251852294152207
10. Finn K, Campisi J2015Implementing and evaluating a peer-led team-learning approach in undergraduate anatomy and physiologyJ Coll Sci Teach44384310.2505/4/jcst15_044_06_38 http://dx.doi.org/10.2505/4/jcst15_044_06_38
11. Fisher KM2004The importance of prior knowledge in college science instruction6983 Sunal DW, Wright EL, Bland JReform in undergraduate science teaching for the 21st centuryInformation Age PublishingCharlotte, NC
12. Freeman S, et al2014Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematicsPNAS111238410841510.1073/pnas.1319030111248217564060654 http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1319030111
13. Freeman S, Haak D, Wenderoth MP2011Increased course structure improves performance in introductory biologyCBE Life Sci Educ1017518610.1187/cbe.10-08-0105216330663105924 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.10-08-0105
14. Freeman SE, et al2007Prescribed active learning increases performance in introductory biologyCBE Life Sci Educ613213910.1187/cbe.06-09-0194175488751885904 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.06-09-0194
15. Hailikari T, Katajavuori N, Lindblom-Ylanne S2008The relevance of prior knowledge in learning and instructional designAm J Pharm Educ72511310.5688/aj7205113 http://dx.doi.org/10.5688/aj7205113
16. Hake RR1998Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: a six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics coursesAm J Phys661647410.1119/1.18809 http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.18809
17. Hart Research Associates2015Falling short? College learning and career successHart Research AssociatesWashington, DC
18. Henderson C, Dancy MH2007Barriers to the use of research-based instructional strategies: the influence of both individual and situational characteristicsPhys Rev ST Phys Educ Res3202010210.1103/PhysRevSTPER.3.020102 http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.3.020102
19. Injaian L, Smith AC, Shipley JG, Marbach-Ad G, Fredericksen B2011Antiviral drug research proposal activityJ Microbiol Biol Educ1211810.1128/jmbe.v12i1.269236537353577224 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v12i1.269
20. Kitchen E, Bell JD, Reeve S, Sudweeks RR, Bradshaw WS2003Teaching cell biology in the large-enrollment classroom: methods to promote analytical thinking and assessment of their effectivenessCBE Life Sci Educ218019410.1187/cbe.02-11-0055 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.02-11-0055
21. Knight JK, Wood WB2005Teaching more by lecturing lessCBE Life Sci Educ429831010.1187/05-06-0082 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/05-06-0082
22. Marbach-Ad G, et al2010A model for using a concept inventory as a tool for students’ assessment and faculty professional developmentCBE Life Sci Educ9440841610.1187/cbe.10-05-0069211236862995757 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.10-05-0069
23. Martinho M, Albergaria-Almeida P, Dias HT2015Cooperation and competitiveness in higher education science: Does gender matter?Proc Soc Behav Sci19155455810.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.569 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.569
24. Michaelsen LK, Black RH1994Building learning teams: the key to harnessing the power of small groups in education. Collaborative learning: a source book for higher education IINational Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and AssessmentThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState College, PA
25. Michaelsen LK, Knight AB, Fink LD2004Team-based learning: a transformative use of small groups in college teachingStylus PublishingSterling, VA
26. Michaelsen LK, Sweet M, Parmelee DX2008Team-based learning: small group learning’s next big stepNew Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 116John Wiley & SonsSan Francisco, CA
27. National Research Council (US). Committee on Undergraduate Biology Education to Prepare Research Scientists for the 21st Century2003BIO2010: transforming undergraduate education for future research biologistsThe National Academies PressWashington, DC
28. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)2012Engage to excel: producing one million additional college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics[Online.] www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-engage-to-excel-final_2-25-12.pdf
29. Redish EF, Cooke TJ2013Learning each other’s ropes: negotiating interdisciplinary authenticityCBE Life Sci Educ122175186237376263671646
30. Ryan GW, Bernard HR2000Data management and analysis methods769802 Denzin N, Lincoln YHandbook of qualitative researchSageThousand Oaks, CA
31. Shekhar P, et al2015Development of an observation protocol to study undergraduate engineering student resistance to active learningInt J Engin Educ312597609
32. Sibley J, Ostafichuk P2014Getting started with team-based learningStylusSterling, VA
33. Singer SR, Nielsen NR, Schweingruber HA2012Discipline-based education research: understanding and improving learning in undergraduate science and engineeringThe National Academies PressWashington DC
34. Smith KA2000Going deeper: formal small group learning in large classesNew Direct Teach Learn81254610.1002/tl.8103 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tl.8103
35. Weimer M2013Learner-centered teaching: five key changes to practiceJossey-BassSan Francisco, CA
36. Woodin T, Carter C, Fletcher L2010Vision and change in biology undergraduate education, a call for action—initial responsesCBE Life Sci Educ91717310.1187/cbe.10-03-0044205163502879380 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.10-03-0044
jmbe.v17i3.1071.citations
jmbe/17/3
content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1071
Loading

Citations loading...

Supplemental Material

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1071
2016-12-02
2017-10-20

Abstract:

This study describes the implementation and effectiveness of small-group active engagement (GAE) exercises in an introductory biology course (BSCI207) taught in a large auditorium setting. BSCI207 (Principles of Biology III—Organismal Biology) is the third introductory core course for Biological Sciences majors. In fall 2014, the instructors redesigned one section to include GAE activities to supplement lecture content. One section ( = 198) employed three lectures per week. The other section ( = 136) replaced one lecture per week with a GAE class. We explored the benefits and challenges associated with implementing GAE exercises and their relative effectiveness for unique student groups (e.g., minority students, high- and low-grade point average [GPA] students). Our findings show that undergraduates in the GAE class exhibited greater improvement in learning outcomes than undergraduates in the traditional class. Findings also indicate that high-achieving students experienced the greatest benefit from GAE activities. Some at-risk student groups (e.g., two-year transfer students) showed comparably low learning gains in the course, despite the additional support that may have been afforded by active learning. Collectively, these findings provide valuable feedback that may assist other instructors who wish to revise their courses and recommendations for institutions regarding prerequisite coursework approval policies.

Highlighted Text: Show | Hide
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/jmbe/17/3/jmbe-17-360.xml.a.html?itemId=/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1071&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

Click to view

FIGURE 1

An example for a GAE worksheet to facilitate students’ understanding of secondary growth in trees. The figure that appears in the worksheet is from REECE, JANE B.; URRY, LISA A.; CAIN, MICHAEL L.; WASSERMAN, STEVEN A.; MINORSKY, PETER V.; JACKSON, ROBERT B., CAMPBELL BIOLOGY, 9th, ©2011. Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., New York, New York. Each group received a horizontal slice of wood and an activity sheet with instructions.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 360-369. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1071
Download as Powerpoint

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Please check the format of the address you have entered.
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error