Repeating Knowledge Application Practice to Improve Student Performance in a Large, Introductory Science Course

Ryosuke Fujinuma, Laura A. Wendling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

There is a tendency for lecture-based instruction in large introductory science courses to strongly focus on the delivery of discipline-specific technical terminology and fundamental concepts, sometimes to the detriment of opportunities for application of learned knowledge in evidence-based critical-thinking activities. We sought to improve student performance on evidence-based critical-thinking tasks through the implementation of peer learning and problem-based learning tutorial activities. Small-group discussions and associated learning activities were used to facilitate deeper learning through the application of new knowledge. Student performance was assessed using critical-thinking essay assignments and a final course exam, and student satisfaction with tutorial activities was monitored using online surveys. Overall, students expressed satisfaction with the small-group-discussion-based tutorial activities (mean score 7.5/10). Improved critical thinking was evidenced by improved student performance on essay assignments during the semester, as well as a 25% increase in mean student scores on the final course exam compared to previous years. These results demonstrate that repeated knowledge application practice can improve student learning in large introductory-level science courses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2906-2922
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume37
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

science
knowledge
performance
student
learning
group discussion
small group
online survey
technical language
semester
evidence
instruction

Keywords

  • Active learning
  • Course experience
  • Learning performance
  • Problem based learning
  • Undergraduate

Cite this

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title = "Repeating Knowledge Application Practice to Improve Student Performance in a Large, Introductory Science Course",
abstract = "There is a tendency for lecture-based instruction in large introductory science courses to strongly focus on the delivery of discipline-specific technical terminology and fundamental concepts, sometimes to the detriment of opportunities for application of learned knowledge in evidence-based critical-thinking activities. We sought to improve student performance on evidence-based critical-thinking tasks through the implementation of peer learning and problem-based learning tutorial activities. Small-group discussions and associated learning activities were used to facilitate deeper learning through the application of new knowledge. Student performance was assessed using critical-thinking essay assignments and a final course exam, and student satisfaction with tutorial activities was monitored using online surveys. Overall, students expressed satisfaction with the small-group-discussion-based tutorial activities (mean score 7.5/10). Improved critical thinking was evidenced by improved student performance on essay assignments during the semester, as well as a 25{\%} increase in mean student scores on the final course exam compared to previous years. These results demonstrate that repeated knowledge application practice can improve student learning in large introductory-level science courses.",
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Repeating Knowledge Application Practice to Improve Student Performance in a Large, Introductory Science Course. / Fujinuma, Ryosuke; Wendling, Laura A.

In: International Journal of Science Education, Vol. 37, No. 17, 22.11.2015, p. 2906-2922.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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