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Teaching students how to study: a workshop on information processing and self-testing helps students learn.

Stanger-Hall KF, Shockley FW, Wilson RE - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Bottom Line: Students rated the workshop activities highly and performed significantly better on workshop-related final exam questions than the control groups.Student achievement (i.e., grade point average) was significantly correlated with overall final exam performance but not with workshop outcomes.This long-term (10 wk) retention of a self-testing effect across question levels and student achievement is a promising endorsement for future large-scale implementation and further evaluation of this "how to study" workshop as a study support for introductory biology (and other science) students.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. ksh@uga.edu

ABSTRACT
We implemented a "how to study" workshop for small groups of students (6-12) for N = 93 consenting students, randomly assigned from a large introductory biology class. The goal of this workshop was to teach students self-regulating techniques with visualization-based exercises as a foundation for learning and critical thinking in two areas: information processing and self-testing. During the workshop, students worked individually or in groups and received immediate feedback on their progress. Here, we describe two individual workshop exercises, report their immediate results, describe students' reactions (based on the workshop instructors' experience and student feedback), and report student performance on workshop-related questions on the final exam. Students rated the workshop activities highly and performed significantly better on workshop-related final exam questions than the control groups. This was the case for both lower- and higher-order thinking questions. Student achievement (i.e., grade point average) was significantly correlated with overall final exam performance but not with workshop outcomes. This long-term (10 wk) retention of a self-testing effect across question levels and student achievement is a promising endorsement for future large-scale implementation and further evaluation of this "how to study" workshop as a study support for introductory biology (and other science) students.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Generalized plant life cycle used for the self-testing exercise. This diagram includes five different structures, each defined by name, cellularity and ploidy, and five different processes (mitosis is involved in the transformation of structures in three distinct instances during the plant life cycle).
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Figure 2: Generalized plant life cycle used for the self-testing exercise. This diagram includes five different structures, each defined by name, cellularity and ploidy, and five different processes (mitosis is involved in the transformation of structures in three distinct instances during the plant life cycle).

Mentions: Many students in introductory biology classes are generally unaware of self-testing as a learning strategy. As a continuation of the visualization theme, we used a visual representation of the generalized plant life cycle to illustrate the importance of self-testing for student learning. Life cycles were taught in lecture the week before the workshop sessions were conducted. During class, the course instructor (K.S.-H.) emphasized that, during all sexual life cycles, specific structures—as defined by two characteristics: their cellularity and their ploidy-–are transformed into one another via three basic processes: mitosis (cell division that maintains ploidy), meiosis (cell division that reduces ploidy), and fertilization (cell fusion that increases ploidy). After this introduction, all three generalized life cycles, including the generalized plant life cycle (Figure 2), were developed and drawn on the overhead camera in a collaborative effort between students and the instructor. Visual representations of complex information during class are extremely useful because instructors and students alike can use them to incorporate a large amount of information into a simple schematic diagram that provides context for conceptual understanding and recall. Another advantage of this approach is its utility for practicing reasoning skills, checking logical connections and relationships between different pieces of information, thereby helping students construct a more comprehensive understanding. To demonstrate how to self-test in a productive way during studying, we conducted the following exercise with our workshop students.


Teaching students how to study: a workshop on information processing and self-testing helps students learn.

Stanger-Hall KF, Shockley FW, Wilson RE - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Generalized plant life cycle used for the self-testing exercise. This diagram includes five different structures, each defined by name, cellularity and ploidy, and five different processes (mitosis is involved in the transformation of structures in three distinct instances during the plant life cycle).
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3105925&req=5

Figure 2: Generalized plant life cycle used for the self-testing exercise. This diagram includes five different structures, each defined by name, cellularity and ploidy, and five different processes (mitosis is involved in the transformation of structures in three distinct instances during the plant life cycle).
Mentions: Many students in introductory biology classes are generally unaware of self-testing as a learning strategy. As a continuation of the visualization theme, we used a visual representation of the generalized plant life cycle to illustrate the importance of self-testing for student learning. Life cycles were taught in lecture the week before the workshop sessions were conducted. During class, the course instructor (K.S.-H.) emphasized that, during all sexual life cycles, specific structures—as defined by two characteristics: their cellularity and their ploidy-–are transformed into one another via three basic processes: mitosis (cell division that maintains ploidy), meiosis (cell division that reduces ploidy), and fertilization (cell fusion that increases ploidy). After this introduction, all three generalized life cycles, including the generalized plant life cycle (Figure 2), were developed and drawn on the overhead camera in a collaborative effort between students and the instructor. Visual representations of complex information during class are extremely useful because instructors and students alike can use them to incorporate a large amount of information into a simple schematic diagram that provides context for conceptual understanding and recall. Another advantage of this approach is its utility for practicing reasoning skills, checking logical connections and relationships between different pieces of information, thereby helping students construct a more comprehensive understanding. To demonstrate how to self-test in a productive way during studying, we conducted the following exercise with our workshop students.

Bottom Line: Students rated the workshop activities highly and performed significantly better on workshop-related final exam questions than the control groups.Student achievement (i.e., grade point average) was significantly correlated with overall final exam performance but not with workshop outcomes.This long-term (10 wk) retention of a self-testing effect across question levels and student achievement is a promising endorsement for future large-scale implementation and further evaluation of this "how to study" workshop as a study support for introductory biology (and other science) students.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. ksh@uga.edu

ABSTRACT
We implemented a "how to study" workshop for small groups of students (6-12) for N = 93 consenting students, randomly assigned from a large introductory biology class. The goal of this workshop was to teach students self-regulating techniques with visualization-based exercises as a foundation for learning and critical thinking in two areas: information processing and self-testing. During the workshop, students worked individually or in groups and received immediate feedback on their progress. Here, we describe two individual workshop exercises, report their immediate results, describe students' reactions (based on the workshop instructors' experience and student feedback), and report student performance on workshop-related questions on the final exam. Students rated the workshop activities highly and performed significantly better on workshop-related final exam questions than the control groups. This was the case for both lower- and higher-order thinking questions. Student achievement (i.e., grade point average) was significantly correlated with overall final exam performance but not with workshop outcomes. This long-term (10 wk) retention of a self-testing effect across question levels and student achievement is a promising endorsement for future large-scale implementation and further evaluation of this "how to study" workshop as a study support for introductory biology (and other science) students.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus