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Appears in:
Pages: 5592-5600
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain

TUTOR-LESS PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING IN A LARGE CLASSROOM SETTING SIGNIFICANTLY ENHANCES GENERIC PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

A. Klegeris, M. Bahniwal, H. Hurren

University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus (CANADA)
Problem-based learning (PBL) has its roots in medical programs, where it was introduced as a form of small group learning. Recently, use of PBL has been spreading to a variety of other disciplines and also to classrooms with increasing numbers of students. There are many approaches to PBL, but they all use contextualized problems, which help motivate students to work on their problem-solving skills and acquire knowledge. In a small, tutor-led class (up to 10 students) setting, PBL has been proven to improve student satisfaction, information retention, knowledge acquisition and problem-solving skills; however, such evidence is missing for most available PBL techniques used in large classes. Five years ago we developed PBL technique for two of our upper level biology courses at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus. Thus far it has been successfully used in classes with 24 to 90 students. PBL cases are conducted by a single course instructor without the additional expense of hiring tutors, which is a common practice for small-group PBL. Our previous studies evaluating the effects of PBL in a large class setting demonstrated increased student attendance, satisfaction and ability to solve discipline-specific problems. The current study was designed to assess the effects of the PBL technique in the large classroom on the problem-solving ability of 3rd year undergraduate students and to compare the dynamics of problem-solving skills of students exposed to PBL to those of students attending mainly lecture-based courses. At the beginning and end of the term we administered generic problem-solving tests to students from the class where PBL exercises were used and compared student scores with similar data obtained in five classes from different disciplines where PBL was not used. Two generic problem-solving tests of equal difficulty were administered such that students wrote different tests at the beginning and the end of the term. Blinded marking showed that there was a statistically significant increase in the test scores of the students exposed to PBL, while no trend towards significant change in scores was observed in any of the control groups not using PBL. To confirm that PBL and not other aspects of the PBL-containing course contribute to this improvement, the study was repeated with the students taking the same course the following year. They were asked to complete three problem-solving tests with similar level of difficulty: first, at the beginning of the term; second, in the middle of the term before PBL was introduced; and third, at the end of the term after students were exposed to PBL exercises. No changes in problem-solving abilities of students were observed after the first half of the term. There was a trend towards significantly improved problem solving abilities of students after the second, PBL-enriched, half of the course. Our study is among the first to demonstrate that statistically significant improvement in generic problem-solving skills can be achieved in a large class of undergraduate students that uses tutor-less PBL as one of the instructional techniques. Our follow-up study indicated that it was most likely PBL and not any other instructional technique used in this class that was responsible for the observed benefit. Our future campus-wide studies are aimed at identifying other teaching techniques that could be used to enhance the problem-solving skills of undergraduate students.
@InProceedings{KLEGERIS2013TUT,
author = {Klegeris, A. and Bahniwal, M. and Hurren, H.},
title = {TUTOR-LESS PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING IN A LARGE CLASSROOM SETTING SIGNIFICANTLY ENHANCES GENERIC PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS},
series = {6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3847-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {5592-5600}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Klegeris AU - M. Bahniwal AU - H. Hurren
TI - TUTOR-LESS PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING IN A LARGE CLASSROOM SETTING SIGNIFICANTLY ENHANCES GENERIC PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-616-3847-5/2340-1095
PY - 2013
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2013
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2013 Proceedings
SP - 5592
EP - 5600
ER -
A. Klegeris, M. Bahniwal, H. Hurren (2013) TUTOR-LESS PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING IN A LARGE CLASSROOM SETTING SIGNIFICANTLY ENHANCES GENERIC PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS, ICERI2013 Proceedings, pp. 5592-5600.
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