New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Educational Research and Methods
Although some engineering instructors have adopted active learning in their teaching, many have not because they anticipate experiencing student resistance to it. This research paper explores how students resist active learning. As part of ongoing research, we have developed a survey instrument, the Student Response to Instructional Practices (StRIP) Survey, to measure undergraduate engineering students’ resistance to active learning. While our other publications describe the instrument development procedures in more detail, the purpose of this paper is to understand how students in traditional and active learning classrooms respond differently to the survey questions. At a large public institution in the Southwestern United States, we studied three undergraduate engineering courses. One course in mechanical engineering served as the traditional course (n = 67 students), while the two other courses in electrical (n = 31) and mechanical engineering (n = 53) incorporated active learning (one used primarily group problem solving, while the other incorporated individual problem solving). Using quantitative methods, we conducted a Kruskal-Wallis test to determine if there were statistically significant differences between student responses in the three courses. Post-hoc testing determined which courses were statistically significantly different from each other for each survey item. The StRIP Survey successfully differentiated the two active learning courses (individual-level and group-level active learning). The StRIP Survey data also suggested that, on average, students respond positively to in-class activities and do not appear resistant. The StRIP Survey will continue to be used in more active learning classrooms, and future work will model student resistance.
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