Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Autonomous Learning Groups in a Blended Problem-based Learning Course

Presenter Information

D Mark WeissFollow

Class

Article

Department

Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

Faculty Mentor

Brian Belland

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

In some instructional settings, such as problem-based learning (PBL), less teacher/student interaction rather than more is considered desirable. When learning groups exhibit high levels of interdependence and group autonomy, a single instructor or tutor can support a larger number of students and still produce positive learning outcomes. Learning groups function autonomously when they possess and exercise control over 1) goal setting, 2) the methods they use to achieve those goals, and 3) apply continuous analysis of their learning progress. The purpose of this mixed methods (QUAL-quant) study is to 1) understand how a computer-based scaffold meant to increase student process autonomy affects teacher-student dialog regarding PBL process concerns and 2) to describe the relationship between the quality of student's evidence based arguments and their autonomous functioning using the scaffold? In medical school settings where PBL originated, PBL learning groups are composed of highly vetted medical students. However, even these highly capable groups are assigned a tutor to assist them with PBL process and content support. When PBL group learning is attempted in other settings such as high schools and middle schools, where students may be less developed, more not less tutor assistance is required. For example, where K-12 teachers may want to employ PBL, continuously assessing the needs of multiple PBL learning groups may seem impractical, thus discouraging the attempt. A possible solution may be found by applying the learner autonomy element of Moore's transactional distance theory. When learner autonomy is promoted, the need for student/teacher dialog may be reduced. This study investigates how computer-assisted PBL instruction might be designed and delivered when less student/teacher interaction is desirable.

Start Date

4-9-2015 3:00 PM

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Apr 9th, 3:00 PM

Autonomous Learning Groups in a Blended Problem-based Learning Course

In some instructional settings, such as problem-based learning (PBL), less teacher/student interaction rather than more is considered desirable. When learning groups exhibit high levels of interdependence and group autonomy, a single instructor or tutor can support a larger number of students and still produce positive learning outcomes. Learning groups function autonomously when they possess and exercise control over 1) goal setting, 2) the methods they use to achieve those goals, and 3) apply continuous analysis of their learning progress. The purpose of this mixed methods (QUAL-quant) study is to 1) understand how a computer-based scaffold meant to increase student process autonomy affects teacher-student dialog regarding PBL process concerns and 2) to describe the relationship between the quality of student's evidence based arguments and their autonomous functioning using the scaffold? In medical school settings where PBL originated, PBL learning groups are composed of highly vetted medical students. However, even these highly capable groups are assigned a tutor to assist them with PBL process and content support. When PBL group learning is attempted in other settings such as high schools and middle schools, where students may be less developed, more not less tutor assistance is required. For example, where K-12 teachers may want to employ PBL, continuously assessing the needs of multiple PBL learning groups may seem impractical, thus discouraging the attempt. A possible solution may be found by applying the learner autonomy element of Moore's transactional distance theory. When learner autonomy is promoted, the need for student/teacher dialog may be reduced. This study investigates how computer-assisted PBL instruction might be designed and delivered when less student/teacher interaction is desirable.