June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Educational Research and Methods
11.1402.1 - 11.1402.9
Using Rapid Feedback to Enhance Student Learning
In this project our goal is to improve student learning in foundation engineering courses. Our hypothesis is that learning is improved by providing rapid feedback to students of their understanding of key concepts and skills being taught. This hypothesis was tested through experiments in which student performance on quizzes was measured after classes in which they were provided rapid feedback or not. The feedback system acts as a catalyst to encourage students, working in pairs, to assist each other in correcting misconceptions or deepening each other’s understanding of the concept or skill at hand. The feedback is enabled through wireless- networked handheld computers (PDAs).
In each of the past two years, the feedback system was implemented in two sections of Statics. One author taught both sections of the course in order to minimize any differences in teaching style and in the content or pace of coverage. A crossover design of experiment was used. In such experiments, each student acted as his or her own control to eliminate the non-correctible confounders. Student performance on a quiz at the end of each treatment period provided the data for comparison between the two groups. A general linear statistical model was used to analyze the treatment factor while controlling for the other ‘nuisance’ or confounding factors.
Our findings from Fall 2004, when both sections were provided rapid feedback and the PDA- enabled feedback system was compared with using flashcards for feedback, showed that there was no significant difference between student performance. In Fall 2005, we compared the PDA-enabled feedback system with having no feedback. We found a significant and positive effect when students received feedback. This is a noteworthy finding in that it confirms the value of providing rapid feedback and the usefulness of the currently popular ‘clickers’ that many professors are employing to promote classroom interaction.
Core engineering courses, such as Statics, are comprised of key concepts and skills that students need to master in order to succeed in follow-on courses. Students must comprehend these concepts at sufficient depth (as opposed to rote memorization of procedure) and transfer this understanding to other courses and contexts. In this multiyear project, our hypothesis is that such learning is facilitated in an active, peer-assisted environment in which the students are provided frequent and rapid feedback of their state of learning.
Background and Motivation
Providing feedback to students of their current level of understanding of concepts is critical for effective learning. It is also important for the professor. This feedback is typically realized through homework sets, quizzes and tests. All of these techniques, however, suffer the faults of being too slow, too late, and too tedious to apply frequently. Freeman and McKenzie 1 discuss several issues that inhibit better student learning in higher education. For students, there is a lack of individual feedback on learning; few opportunities for dialogue to improve learning; and a feeling that the subject is impersonal. From the faculty members’ perspective, the difficulties lie
Chen, J., & Kadlowec, J., & Whittinghill, D. (2006, June), Using Rapid Feedback To Enhance Student Learning Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1093
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