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      A comparison of traditional and engaging lecture methods in a large, professional-level course

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      Advances in Physiology Education

      American Physiological Society

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          In engaging lectures, also referred to as broken or interactive lectures, students are given short periods of lecture followed by "breaks" that can consist of 1-min papers, problem sets, brainstorming sessions, or open discussion. While many studies have shown positive effects when engaging lectures are used in undergraduate settings, the literature surrounding use of the learning technique for professional students is inconclusive. The novelty of this study design allowed a direct comparison of engaging physiology lectures versus didactic lecture formats in the same cohort of 120 first-year School of Dentistry DMD students. All students were taught five physiological systems using traditional lecture methods and six physiological systems using engaging lecture methods. The use of engaging lectures led to a statistically significant higher average on unit exams compared with traditional didactic lectures (8.6% higher, P < 0.05). Furthermore, students demonstrated an improved long-term retention of information via higher scores on the comprehensive final exam (22.9% higher in engaging lecture sections, P < 0.05). Many qualitative improvements were also indicated via student surveys and evaluations, including an increased perceived effectiveness of lectures, decrease in distractions during lecture, and increased confidence with the material. The development of engaging lecture activities requires a significant amount of instructor preparation and limits the time available to provide traditional lectures. However, the positive results of this study suggest the need for a restructuring of the physiology curriculum to incorporate more engaging lectures to improve both the qualitative experiences and performance levels of professional students.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Do psychosocial and study skill factors predict college outcomes? A meta-analysis.

          This study examines the relationship between psychosocial and study skill factors (PSFs) and college outcomes by meta-analyzing 109 studies. On the basis of educational persistence and motivational theory models, the PSFs were categorized into 9 broad constructs: achievement motivation, academic goals, institutional commitment, perceived social support, social involvement, academic self-efficacy, general self-concept, academic-related skills, and contextual influences. Two college outcomes were targeted: performance (cumulative grade point average; GPA) and persistence (retention). Meta-analyses indicate moderate relationships between retention and academic goals, academic self-efficacy, and academic-related skills (ps =.340,.359, and.366, respectively). The best predictors for GPA were academic self-efficacy and achievement motivation (ps =.496 and.303, respectively). Supplementary regression analyses confirmed the incremental contributions of the PSF over and above those of socioeconomic status, standardized achievement, and high school GPA in predicting college outcomes.
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            Where's the evidence that active learning works?

            Calls for reforms in the ways we teach science at all levels, and in all disciplines, are wide spread. The effectiveness of the changes being called for, employment of student-centered, active learning pedagogy, is now well supported by evidence. The relevant data have come from a number of different disciplines that include the learning sciences, cognitive psychology, and educational psychology. There is a growing body of research within specific scientific teaching communities that supports and validates the new approaches to teaching that have been adopted. These data are reviewed, and their applicability to physiology education is discussed. Some of the inherent limitations of research about teaching and learning are also discussed.
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              Teaching more by lecturing less.

              We carried out an experiment to determine whether student learning gains in a large, traditionally taught, upper-division lecture course in developmental biology could be increased by partially changing to a more interactive classroom format. In two successive semesters, we presented the same course syllabus using different teaching styles: in fall 2003, the traditional lecture format; and in spring 2004, decreased lecturing and addition of student participation and cooperative problem solving during class time, including frequent in-class assessment of understanding. We used performance on pretests and posttests, and on homework problems to estimate and compare student learning gains between the two semesters. Our results indicated significantly higher learning gains and better conceptual understanding in the more interactive course. To assess reproducibility of these effects, we repeated the interactive course in spring 2005 with similar results. Our findings parallel results of similar teaching-style comparisons made in other disciplines. On the basis of this evidence, we propose a general model for teaching large biology courses that incorporates interactive engagement and cooperative work in place of some lecturing, while retaining course content by demanding greater student responsibility for learning outside of class.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Advances in Physiology Education
                Advances in Physiology Education
                American Physiological Society
                1043-4046
                1522-1229
                December 2013
                December 2013
                : 37
                : 4
                : 347-355
                Article
                10.1152/advan.00050.2013
                24292912
                © 2013

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