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Student use of out-of-class study groups in an introductory undergraduate biology course.

Rybczynski SM, Schussler EE - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Bottom Line: No relationship was found between gains in content knowledge and study group use.We conclude that students require guidance in the successful use of study groups.Instructors can help students maximize study group success by making students aware of potential group composition problems, helping students choose group members who are compatible, and providing students materials on which to focus their study efforts.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA. rybczysm@muohio.edu

ABSTRACT
Self-formed out-of-class study groups may benefit student learning; however, few researchers have quantified the relationship between study group use and achievement or described changes in study group usage patterns over a semester. We related study group use to performance on content exams, explored patterns of study group use, and qualitatively described student perceptions of study groups. A pre- and posttest were used to measure student content knowledge. Internet-based surveys were used to collect quantitative data on exam performance and qualitative data on study group usage trends and student perceptions of study groups. No relationship was found between gains in content knowledge and study group use. Students who participated in study groups did, however, believe they were beneficial. Four patterns of study group use were identified: students either always (14%) or never (55%) used study groups, tried but quit using them (22%), or utilized study groups only late in the semester (9%). Thematic analysis revealed preconceptions and in-class experiences influence student decisions to utilize study groups. We conclude that students require guidance in the successful use of study groups. Instructors can help students maximize study group success by making students aware of potential group composition problems, helping students choose group members who are compatible, and providing students materials on which to focus their study efforts.

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Model of factors that may influence student decision to participate in a study group. Factors that exerted a positive influence (i.e., cited by students likely to use a study group) on study group participation are located on the right side of the diagram while factors that exerted a negative influence (i.e., cited by students unlikely to use a study group) are located on the left of the diagram. Factors of mixed influence are located in the center. Factors based on student preconceptions are located in the upper portion of the diagram, and factors from students’ actual experiences are located on the bottom of the diagram.
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Figure 3: Model of factors that may influence student decision to participate in a study group. Factors that exerted a positive influence (i.e., cited by students likely to use a study group) on study group participation are located on the right side of the diagram while factors that exerted a negative influence (i.e., cited by students unlikely to use a study group) are located on the left of the diagram. Factors of mixed influence are located in the center. Factors based on student preconceptions are located in the upper portion of the diagram, and factors from students’ actual experiences are located on the bottom of the diagram.

Mentions: Qualitative results from this study suggest that the likelihood of a student utilizing a study group is affected by his or her 1) preconceptions regarding study groups and 2) actual experiences in the course. To reflect the data from this part of the study, a model was created (Figure 3) that represents the positive and negative factors students weigh when considering whether to use a study group as well as how the relative influence of these factors may change over time (preconceptions vs. actual experiences).


Student use of out-of-class study groups in an introductory undergraduate biology course.

Rybczynski SM, Schussler EE - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Model of factors that may influence student decision to participate in a study group. Factors that exerted a positive influence (i.e., cited by students likely to use a study group) on study group participation are located on the right side of the diagram while factors that exerted a negative influence (i.e., cited by students unlikely to use a study group) are located on the left of the diagram. Factors of mixed influence are located in the center. Factors based on student preconceptions are located in the upper portion of the diagram, and factors from students’ actual experiences are located on the bottom of the diagram.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Figure 3: Model of factors that may influence student decision to participate in a study group. Factors that exerted a positive influence (i.e., cited by students likely to use a study group) on study group participation are located on the right side of the diagram while factors that exerted a negative influence (i.e., cited by students unlikely to use a study group) are located on the left of the diagram. Factors of mixed influence are located in the center. Factors based on student preconceptions are located in the upper portion of the diagram, and factors from students’ actual experiences are located on the bottom of the diagram.
Mentions: Qualitative results from this study suggest that the likelihood of a student utilizing a study group is affected by his or her 1) preconceptions regarding study groups and 2) actual experiences in the course. To reflect the data from this part of the study, a model was created (Figure 3) that represents the positive and negative factors students weigh when considering whether to use a study group as well as how the relative influence of these factors may change over time (preconceptions vs. actual experiences).

Bottom Line: No relationship was found between gains in content knowledge and study group use.We conclude that students require guidance in the successful use of study groups.Instructors can help students maximize study group success by making students aware of potential group composition problems, helping students choose group members who are compatible, and providing students materials on which to focus their study efforts.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA. rybczysm@muohio.edu

ABSTRACT
Self-formed out-of-class study groups may benefit student learning; however, few researchers have quantified the relationship between study group use and achievement or described changes in study group usage patterns over a semester. We related study group use to performance on content exams, explored patterns of study group use, and qualitatively described student perceptions of study groups. A pre- and posttest were used to measure student content knowledge. Internet-based surveys were used to collect quantitative data on exam performance and qualitative data on study group usage trends and student perceptions of study groups. No relationship was found between gains in content knowledge and study group use. Students who participated in study groups did, however, believe they were beneficial. Four patterns of study group use were identified: students either always (14%) or never (55%) used study groups, tried but quit using them (22%), or utilized study groups only late in the semester (9%). Thematic analysis revealed preconceptions and in-class experiences influence student decisions to utilize study groups. We conclude that students require guidance in the successful use of study groups. Instructors can help students maximize study group success by making students aware of potential group composition problems, helping students choose group members who are compatible, and providing students materials on which to focus their study efforts.

Show MeSH