From students to scientists: The impact of interactive engagement in lectures

Craig McMillan, Daphne Loads, Heather A McQueen

Abstract


“Graduate attributes” are widely believed to be important in developing the scientific skill-set, with generic skills being viewed as more important than discipline-specific qualities. Importantly, students need opportunities to think and practice in ways akin to experts. The continued use of didactic lectures in university education often leads to the accumulation of superficial knowledge, and does not adequately train students to acquire the skills and attributes required of an effective scientist: critical thinking, an inquiring mind and creativity. We analysed active learning lecture strategies in a second year genetics course to determine their effectiveness in developing the scientific skill-set. These were found to be more beneficial than standard lecturing. Investigation of one of these strategies, the “quecture” (an adaptation of the flipped classroom), found that students did not view this method as being the most useful, despite being the most interactive. Our evidence suggests this student resistance to result from the requirement for prior preparation, perceived as an increased workload. We advocate the incorporation of active learning strategies in lectures to support the development of students’ scientific skill–set and specifically advise the introduction of novel formats such as the quecture early in university level science education. 

Keywords: Active learning, interactive engagement, quecture, scientific skill-set, graduate attributes


Keywords


Active learning; interactive engagement; quecture; scientific skill-set; graduate attributes

Full Text:

PDF

References


Bates, S.P., Howie, K. & Murphy, A.S. (2006). The use of electronic voting systems in large group lectures: Challenges and opportunities. New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Science 2, 8-25. Available from: https://journals.le.ac.uk/ojs1/index.php/new-directions/article/view/426

Bates, S. & Galloway, R. (2012). The inverted classroom in a large enrolment introductory physics course: a case study. Proceedings of the HEA STEM learning and teaching conference (Vol. 1). Available from:

https://www2.ph.ed.ac.uk/~rgallowa/Bates_Galloway.pdf

Barrie, S.C. (2007). A conceptual framework for the teaching and learning of generic graduate attributes. Studies in Higher Education 32, 439-458.

DOI: 10.1080/03075070701476100

Biggs, J.B. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education 32, 347–364.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00138871

Bligh, D. (2000). What’s the use of lectures? San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Cleveland, L.M., Olimpo, J.T. & DeChenne-Peters, S.E. (2017). Investigating the Relationship between Instructors’ Use of Active-Learning Strategies and Students’ Conceptual Understanding and Affective Changes in Introductory Biology: A Comparison of Two Active-Learning Environments. CBE-Life Sciences Education 16, 1-10.

DOI: 10.1187/cbe.16-06-0181

Deslauriers, L., Schelew, E. & Wieman, C. (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science 332, 862-864.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1201783

Freeman, S., Eddy, S.L., McDonough, M., Smith, M.K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H. & Wenderoth, M.P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, 8410-8415. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111

Hake, R. R. (1998). Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: a six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. American Journal of Physics 66, 64–74. DOI: 10.1119/1.18809

Mazur, E. & Hilborn R.C. (1997). Peer instruction: A user’s manual. Physics Today 50, 68-69. DOI: 10.1063/1.881735

McCune, V. & Hounsell, D. (2005). The development of students’ ways of thinking and practising in three final-year biology courses. Higher Education 49, 255-289. DOI: 10.1007/s10734-004-6666-0

McQueen, H.A., McMillan C. (2017). Introducing the Quecture for personalised constructive learning (submitted for publication in Active Learning in Higher Education)

National Research Council. (2003). BIO2010: Transforming undergraduate education for future research biologists. Washington DC: National Academies Press.

Nie, Y. & Lau, S. (2010). Differential relations of constructivist and didactic instruction to students' cognition, motivation, and achievement. Learning and Instruction 20, 411-423.

DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.04.002

Tanner, K., Chatman, L.S. & Allen, D. (2003). Approaches to cell biology teaching: cooperative learning in the science classroom—beyond students working in groups. Cell Biology Education 2, 1–5.

DOI: 10.1187/cbe.03-03-0010

Wood, W. B. (2009). Innovations in teaching undergraduate biology and why we need them. Annual Reviews of Cell and Developmental Biology 25, 93-112. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.24.110707.175306

Wood, A.K., Galloway, R.K., Donnelly, R. and Hardy, J. (2016). Characterizing interactive engagement activities in a flipped introductory physics class. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12(1), p.010140. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.12.010140




DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/ndtps.v0i13.2425

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
We use both functional and performance cookies to improve visitor experience. Continue browsing if you are happy to accept cookies. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.
OK


New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences

eISSN: 2051-3615