Journal Club Discussion: Identifying Key Features of Effective Active Learning: The Effects of Writing and Peer Discussion ¶
By: Alejandra Arreola Triana on March 15, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Hello Everyone, and welcome to our first discussion for the Education & Science Communication Journal Club.
This fortnight, we will discuss this paper: Identifying Key Features of Effective Active Learning: The Effects of Writing and Peer Discussion, by Linton et al., published in CBE Life Sciences Education. You can find the paper in PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152208/. The paper is openly accessible, so you shouldn't have any problems, but just in case, download the "unpaywall" plugin to Chrome or Firefox, so you can find open versions of many papers.
Why did I choose this paper?
I teach science writing at the College of Biological Sciences, UANL, in Mexico, and I am very interested in implementing active learning techniques in my teaching practice. I think this paper is very relevant to my interests, besides providing a very detailed methodology, which could be useful if I ever want to evaluate the effectiveness of these techniques.
The introduction is a good review of the literature about active learning, and I think the authors did a good job at defining the concepts. I also think the methodology is clear and well constructed, and the reasoning behind their decisions is stated clearly.
The authors conclude that writing and discussions are an important component of active learning activities, and that it is worth spending the class time in individual writing activities, as it improves learning. They point out that all three instructors kept the same pace and covered the material. One of the main complaints I have heard regarding the use of active learning activities in the classroom is that the are time consuming, and reduce lecture time--these authors found that it is not necessarily the case.
I noticed the different results according to instructors, and the authors acknowledge that they should look into this variable. The authors chose teachers with different levels of experience using active learning techniques. In my experience, teacher attitude may also influence student learning (must look for a paper on that!), so I wish they included a professor with many years of teaching experience, but who has never before used active learning.
Another thing I liked about this paper, is that the activities described are easy to implement in many different courses, and I will be sharing this information with my colleagues.
What do you think about this paper?
How do you think this paper will inform or change your teaching practice?
I look forward to learning with you!
(If you would like to share a paper and discuss it, please let me know!)
Alex Arreola | México
AuthorAID Community Moderator
Last edited by: Andy Nobes on March 18, 2019, 12:48 p.m., edited 2 times in total.