Proposal Title

Effectiveness of PBL Before Lectures on Learning and Retention

Session Type

Presentation

Room

P&A Rm 150

Start Date

July 2015

Keywords

PBL, Probability, Statistics

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

In the mandatory tutorial sections of an introductory probability and statistics course of just over 70 students, students were assigned to small groups to work on accessible problems from upcoming material without any prior instruction on how to solve them. Weekly groups were assigned at random, with a randomly selected student leader. Solutions were ungraded, and marks assigned for participation only. A multiyear study was conducted to test students for their level of retention one year later, comparing them to a previous control group. Results indicate that the strategy improves retention of concepts while, as expected, a formula is long forgotten. However, low participation rates in the survey produce a p value of 20%, preventing a definitive claim of statistical significance. Nonetheless, qualitative student feedback on surveys during the course show a very strong positive response to the approach. Students reported the approach helped their thinking and reasoning, and assisted in their learning. They appreciated the informal, low-pressure environment of the PBL sessions, and report it beneficial for developing their own understanding of the concepts before going into lecture. Despite all this, students still tended to want to gravitate toward traditional approaches.

Elements of Engagement

A couple of the more accessible problems can be done during the talk even with the participants having no statistics knowledge. We will do these, and from the results understand the students' response and feedback.

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Jul 10th, 1:45 PM

Effectiveness of PBL Before Lectures on Learning and Retention

P&A Rm 150

In the mandatory tutorial sections of an introductory probability and statistics course of just over 70 students, students were assigned to small groups to work on accessible problems from upcoming material without any prior instruction on how to solve them. Weekly groups were assigned at random, with a randomly selected student leader. Solutions were ungraded, and marks assigned for participation only. A multiyear study was conducted to test students for their level of retention one year later, comparing them to a previous control group. Results indicate that the strategy improves retention of concepts while, as expected, a formula is long forgotten. However, low participation rates in the survey produce a p value of 20%, preventing a definitive claim of statistical significance. Nonetheless, qualitative student feedback on surveys during the course show a very strong positive response to the approach. Students reported the approach helped their thinking and reasoning, and assisted in their learning. They appreciated the informal, low-pressure environment of the PBL sessions, and report it beneficial for developing their own understanding of the concepts before going into lecture. Despite all this, students still tended to want to gravitate toward traditional approaches.