Motivated and Engaged Students via Co-operative Problem- Based Learning

Sarah-Jane Gregory, Frank Clarke, Martin Bridgestock

Abstract


There has been considerable research into using alternative teaching strategies that incorporate peerassisted learning to improve learning outcomes. Interteach has to-date has been used primarily as a replacement for more traditional lectures in the psychcology discipline (Saville et al 2006, Saville and Zinn 2005). We have used conceptual elements to produce for both different course styles and for use with smaller group numbers (10-60 students). For each Interteach workshop, students are required to research answers to three sets of PBL questions prior to attending class. Students are permitted to bring only their workshop sheet with dot points for use as reference material. Classes are randomly allocated into groups of four. Students are then involved in three one-on-one discussions with three different people. For assessment, students complete a short quiz and also allocate preparation and participation points for those students they engaged in discussions with. Combine these strategies encourage active learning and individual engagement in a co-operative learning environment.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that this teaching format has been well received by students and produces better learning outcomes overall. This general method has now been successfully applied in many of our courses ranging from immunology, metabolic biochemistry, society science, mathematics and aviation science.

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