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Learners & Learning environments: Comparison of cognition level between lecture-based classroom and experiential study abroad assessment. Abigail J. Lynch and William W. Taylor Michigan State University , Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability

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Abigail j lynch and william w taylor

Learners & Learning environments:Comparison of cognition level between lecture-based classroom and experiential study abroad assessment

Abigail J. Lynch and William W. Taylor

Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability

30 April 2013

FAST Fellowship Symposium


What is our objective as instructors

What is our objective as instructors?

Fostering learning environments which result in learning.

What is our objective as scholars?

Evaluating effectiveness of learning environments to ensure learning.

Research need

Research approach

Preliminary results

Implications


Study abroad not available on campus

Study abroad: not available on campus

  • “My study abroad gave me tools and experiences that studying on campus could never provide. In fact, without studying abroad, I would never have known how valuable the experiences were.”

Research need


Study abroad experiential learning

Study abroad: experiential learning

  • “Most of the time they not only told us about their work and knowledge, but took us out into the field to show us too. This alone made this program a unique educational experience, because rather than just talking about what we were learning, we actually went to see where policy making or science and environmental restoration work takes place.”

Research need


Study abroad experience with impact

Study abroad: experience with impact

  • “This learning did not happen in a classroom and there was barely any lecture time…These people had devoted their lives to fish and water preservation, so at no point were they teaching us. They were actually physically showing us the things they were most passionate about. This is a type of learning that makes an impact on students.”

Research need


Learning environments

Learning Environments

Traditional Classroom

Study Abroad

  • Lecture-based

  • Experiential

How can you compare?

zaidlearn.blogspot.com

Research need


Comparing learning environments

Comparing learning environments

  • Foreign language competency

    • Segalowitz et al. (2004): U.S. classroom vs. study abroad in Spain

    • Freed et al. (2004): U.S. classroom vs. summer immersion vs. study abroad in France

      • Immersion students: significant gains in oral proficiency

      • Study abroad students: significant gains in speech fluidity

      • Classroom students: no statistically significant gains

      • Gains related more to hrs/week speaking and writing French than anything else

  • Foreign language competency

    • Segalowitz et al. (2004): U.S. classroom vs. study abroad in Spain

    • Freed et al. (2004): U.S. classroom vs. summer immersion vs. study abroad

  • Other subject areas?

    • Limited opportunities for paired design

  • Foreign language competency

  • Foreign language competency

    • Segalowitz et al. (2004): U.S. classroom vs. study abroad in Spain

      • Study abroad students: significantly greater gains in oral proficiency, oral fluency but not grammar or pronunciation.

      • Cognitive thresholds for second language learning readiness (regardless of location)

Research need


Paired comparison fw 481 global issues in fisheries and wildlife

Paired comparison: FW 481Global issues in Fisheries and Wildlife

  • Classroom: Spring 2010, Spring 2012

  • Study abroad: Summer 2011, Summer 2013

  • Classroom: Spring 2010, Spring 2012

  • Study abroad: Summer 2011, Summer 2013

  • Same learning objectives

  • Same essay assignments

  • Similar number of students

  • Similar demographics

Research approach


Teaching as research objective

Teaching-as-Research Objective

To compare cognition level between lecture-based students and experiential study-abroad students

Research approach


Cognition level

Cognition level

  • Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956): hierarchical classification of thinking skills

  • Most assessment is at lower levels of the taxonomy

  • Students remember more when they handle a topic at the higher levels of the taxonomy

    Garavalia, Hummel, Wiley, & Huitt (1999)

edweb.sdsu.edu

Research approach


Blooming

“Blooming”

  • Scored essay assignments using Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956)

    • Coded for highest competence at the sentence, paragraph, and paper level

      • 1: knowledge

      • 2: comprehension

      • 3: application

      • 4: analysis

      • 5: synthesis and evaluation

    • Standardized by number of sentences, paragraphs

    • Weighted by each level

      • 0.5: sentence

      • 0.3: paragraph

      • 0.2: paper

Research approach


Blooming example

“Blooming” example

  • Scored essay assignments using Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956)

    • Coded for highest competence at the sentence, paragraph, and paper level

    • Standardized by number of sentences, paragraphs

    • Weighted by each level

full score

Research approach


Research questions

Research Questions

Is there a difference between cognition level between:

Classroom and study abroad students?

Students the beginning and end of the course?

Students with stated preference for active over lecture-based pedagogy?

Research approach


Learning environment effects

Learning environment effects

  • Could learning environment affect demonstrated cognition level?

    • T-test for learning environment effects: Is there a difference between demonstrated cognition level in the final essay between study abroad and classroom students?

t = 4.0933

df = 13.947

p-value = 0.001105

study abroad essay mean significantly higher cognition level than classroom essay mean

study abroad

classroom

Preliminary results


Student effects

Student effects

  • Could the course influence demonstrated cognition level? Self-selection?

    • T-test for prior effects: Is there a difference in the cognition level between the beginning and end of the study abroad course?

t = -3.1145

df = 7

p-value = 0.01697

final essay mean significantly higher cognition level than initial essay mean

initial

final

Preliminary results


Student effects1

Student effects

  • Could the course influence demonstrated cognition level? Self-selection?

  • Could pedagogical preference affect demonstrated cognition level?

    • T-test for pedagogical effects: Is there a difference in demonstrated cognition level between students who prefer active vs. lecture-based pedagogy?

Preliminary results


Lecture vs active learning preferences

Lecture vs. active learning preferences

  • Conducted a unit of the 2012 classroom course (three class periods) using different pedagogical styles

    • Lecture

    • Active learning

      • jig-saw and problem-based learning

  • Distributed survey on pedagogical preferences

    • Likert scale

    • Open ended questions

Preliminary results


Lecture vs active learning preferences1

Lecture vs. active learning preferences

Lecture

Active learning

  • “Greater trust in [lecture] information because it comes from the TA/professor instead of classmates.”

  • “I like small group discussions because you hear multiple viewpoints and interpretations to better comprehend the material”

Preliminary results


Student effects2

Student effects

  • Could the course influence demonstrated cognition level? Self-selection?

  • Could pedagogical preference affect demonstrated cognition level?

    • Test for pedagogical effects: Is there a difference in demonstrated cognition level between students who prefer active vs. lecture-based pedagogy?

t = 1.7805

df = 7.999

p-value = 0.1129

preference for active learning mean NOT significantly higher cognition level than preference for lecture mean

active

lecture

Preliminary results


Implications

Implications

  • Evidence that learner preference does not impact demonstrated cognition level

    • Small sample size

  • Evidence that experiential study abroad learning environments can promote higher order thinking

    • Final assignment mean cognition score:

      • Significantly higher than initial assignment

      • Significantly higher than classroom final assignment

    • Need to compare initial assignments from both learning environments to isolate effects

Implications


Next steps

Next steps

  • Add 2010 and 2013 students, 2012 initial essay

  • Add second reader to ensure reproducibility

  • Consider regression analyses?

  • Consider publication?

    • Any recommendations?

    • Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education?

Implications


Thank you lynchabi@msu edu

AcknowledgementsFW 481 students

FAST Fellowship Steering Committee

FAST Fellows

Thank [email protected]

Abigail J. Lynch and William W. Taylor

Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability

30 April 2013

FAST Fellowship Symposium


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