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It’s About Time: Exploring the dose-dependent effects of active learning on students of different social personalities in an upper-level biology course.

Journal of College Science Teaching—March/April 2024 (Volume 53, Issue 2)

By William Beckerson, Jennifer Anderson, Siddhesh Kulkarni, John Perpich, Deborah Yoder-Himes

Active learning is the new standard for teaching in higher education. As more faculty seek to expand their teaching practices by including active learning activities that promote higher levels of learning, many are doing so in small doses by temporarily postponing traditional lectures in favor of group activities. While there is evidence demonstrating that active learning practices can facilitate higher performance and information retention, our previous work showed that social personality differences can affect an individual’s performance in group-oriented active learning exercises. The results from this work indicated a possible dose-dependent effect driving the correlations observed between performance and social personality compared to passive lectures. This study builds on our previous work by analyzing if hosting comparatively few active learning classes is leading to a dose-dependent effect on student performance by personality type in the active learning setting. Our findings from this research demonstrate that social personality-based differences in performance on topics taught using active learning diminish with increased exposure to active learning. We also found that students of all personality types perform better on memorization-based questions than on higher-order questions in general, but that their performance on higher-order thinking questions improved after participating in active learning.

Biology Equity Pedagogy Professional Learning Postsecondary

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