Manchester Metropolitan University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 180-191
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1032
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This project has harnessed advances in communication to enhance the student learning experience. There is evidence from a study in chemistry teaching at MMU that personal response systems can lead to significant educational gains in this area. The aim was to release the contact time for more interactive learning using the flipped teaching model.

For a successfully flipped lecture, the objective is to engage all the students and mass polling has proved a useful means of promoting audience participation. A study into the impact of mass polling personal response systems was carried out with a final year core chemistry unit during the 2015/16 academic year. This unit contained the largest group and had a significant theory component. Audience participation was improved by using smartphones combined with the game-based learning classroom response system Kahoot and three short quizzes each containing up to five multiple-choice questions were prepared for each lecture.

In an effort to prime students for class, weekly pre-lecture screencasts were made available via the VLE prior to the lecture and students viewed them before classes. Each screencast generally lasted around five mins and covered the key concepts to be discussed in the lecture.

With the transfer of information occurring out of class, via the screencasts, the in-class time could focus on the assimilation of this knowledge using the mass polling quizzes. The questions used were generally conceptual in nature and the strategy for the lectures involved asking the question, giving the students’ time to think and polling the answers. The aim being to engage students during class through a sequence of questioning and discussion. Students were asked to respond again to the same question after a short discussion with someone in the class who had responded with a different answer to themselves. They were then given 1-2 mins to convince each other who had been correct, a second polling of the same question was then carried out and the differences between the two responses were compared followed by an explanation of the correct answer.

This approach has provided a fertile environment for peer instruction as well as being useful in engaging the majority of class during the lectures. In most cases, an increase in the percentage of right answers was recorded between the two rounds after the peer discussion. The students giving the explanations show greater learning gains, where the active process of explaining helps to integrate new and existing knowledge. In addition, the recipients also benefit because their peers come from a similar background and may be better placed than their instructor to clear up misconceptions.

Initial feedback has shown that this style of delivery has had a significant impact on the student learning experience. The benefits of peer instruction also extend beyond the classroom and results have shown that students perform better when assessed on both content knowledge and on their problem-solving skills. A feedback survey has shown that 80% of students thought that the quizzes enhanced the lectures and all of these students agreed that the quizzes had helped their understanding. In addition, 88% of students had welcomed the opportunity to discuss the questions with their peers during class. This paper will report the preliminary results from this study and describe the educational gains that are possible using this student-centred teaching method.
Personal Response Systems, Peer Instruction, Screencasts, Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), Flipped Teaching Model, Blended Learning.