Comparing the effects of traditional learning (lecture) vs. independent online learning on student understanding in weather and geology
Hopkins, Megan Elizabeth.
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Poor student performance on summative assessments has been a common problem throughout my teaching career. This has caused me to consider alternative methods of delivering new material to my students. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of online learning vs. lecture on student understanding. During unit one of my treatment I delivered notes entirely by lecturing. Following each lecture, my students completed guided note questions within small groups. We discussed their answers as a class and the students then took an individual note quiz over the new material. The second unit was studied by online learning in which students logged on to our class website, read the notes individually, and answered guided note questions within small groups. We discussed their answers as a class and students completed an individual note quiz as we had done following a period of lecture. For the remainder of my treatment, I allowed my students to choose which method of note-taking they preferred and divided my students into two groups according to their responses. Students followed the same procedure as they had during the first two units. Through the analysis of data collected I was able to determine that male students learned better following units of online learning while female students learned better through lecture. I also learned that the lower level students experienced the greatest impact when changing between lecture and online learning. Despite the success many male students had with online learning, analysis of student survey data and interview responses showed that the majority of students preferred lecture to online learning and felt better prepared and more confident following units in which that strategy was implemented. Observations and journal entries suggest that I experienced fewer behavioral problems and a greater percentage of students asking and correctly answering questions following periods in which a mixture of lecture and online learning were implemented. As a result, I have concluded that combining both strategies and allowing students to choose their preferred method of note-taking will continue to have a positive effect on both my students and my future teaching.