June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.540.1 - 15.540.11
Evaluation of PeerWise as an Educational Tool for Bioengineers
There is a need to develop, validate, and widely implement tools that incorporate proven educational strategies including collaborative learning, active learning, and peer tutoring. PeerWise is an innovative, web-based system in which students create multiple-choice questions and answer those created by their classmates. Creating the question bank, rather than just accessing an existing one transforms students from passive recipients to active learners. The objectives of this study were to characterize the use of PeerWise in a lower division bioengineering course and to measure its efficacy in improving student learning. Students who used PeerWise performed significantly better on the final exam compared to minimally active users. PeerWise was easy to implement, placing almost no burden on the instructor, and the majority of students in the class used it voluntarily to study for their exam. These findings demonstrate the potential of PeerWise to be a powerful and widely used educational tool for bioengineers.
Research in science and engineering education has identified strategies to improve student learning, including: learning communities, collaborative learning, active learning, peer review, and peer tutoring1-4. There is a need to build on this knowledge by developing, validating, and widely implementing educational tools that incorporate these proven strategies.
PeerWise is an innovative, web-based tool that exploits the familiarity students have with user- generated content, as exemplified by popular sites such as YouTube, to create an online learning community. Specifically, PeerWise provides a framework for students to work collaboratively with their classmates to create a large repository of multiple-choice questions. Creating the question bank, rather than just accessing an existing one, transforms students from passive recipients to active learners. To author a high quality question a student must understand the topic in depth, consider misconceptions when proposing distracters (plausible but incorrect answers), and write a clear explanation for the correct answer. Once a question has been submitted, other students in the course can use the question for self-assessment, learn from the explanations, evaluate the quality of the question, and participate in a discussion thread by offering additional explanations or posting comments. The process of evaluating the quality of a question and corresponding explanation require behaviors at the very highest level in Bloom’s taxonomy of the cognitive domain 5,6. By establishing a learning community that incorporates collaborative learning, active learning, peer review, and peer tutoring, PeerWise has the potential to be a powerful teaching tool.
Since its development in 2007 at the University of Auckland, more than fifteen thousand students at twenty-three different institutions have used PeerWise worldwide. Rigorous evaluation of PeerWise in computer science courses has shown that student-generated questions cover the full range of topics within a course and are generally high quality 7,8. Student attitudes toward PeerWise are overwhelmingly positive as demonstrated by the finding that students
Denny, P., & Simon, B., & Micou, M. (2010, June), Evaluation Of Peerwise As An Educational Tool For Bioengineers Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16460
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