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      Replacing lecture with peer-led workshops improves student learning.

      CBE Life Sciences Education

      Students, Peer Group, Minority Groups, Male, Learning, Humans, Female, standards, Educational Measurement, education, Biology

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          Abstract

          Peer-facilitated workshops enhanced interactivity in our introductory biology course, which led to increased student engagement and learning. A majority of students preferred attending two lectures and a workshop each week over attending three weekly lectures. In the workshops, students worked in small cooperative groups as they solved challenging problems, evaluated case studies, and participated in activities designed to improve their general learning skills. Students in the workshop version of the course scored higher on exam questions recycled from preworkshop semesters. Grades were higher over three workshop semesters in comparison with the seven preworkshop semesters. Although males and females benefited from workshops, there was a larger improvement of grades and increased retention by female students; although underrepresented minority (URM) and non-URM students benefited from workshops, there was a larger improvement of grades by URM students. As well as improving student performance and retention, the addition of interactive workshops also improved the quality of student learning: Student scores on exam questions that required higher-level thinking increased from preworkshop to workshop semesters.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          19723813
          2736022
          10.1187/cbe.09-01-0002

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