Less teaching, more learning

10-yr study supports increasing student learning through less coverage and more inquiry

Douglas B. Luckie, Jacob R. Aubry, Benjamin J. Marengo, Aaron M. Rivkin, Lindsey A. Foos, Joseph Maleszewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study, we compared gains in student content learning over a 10-yr period in which the introductory biology laboratory curriculum was changed in two ways: an increase of inquiry and a reduction of content. Three laboratory formats were tested: traditional 1-wk-long cookbook laboratories, two 7-wk-long inquiry laboratories, and one 14-wk-long inquiry laboratory. As the level of inquiry increased,student learning gains on content exams trended upward even while traditional content coverage taught decreased. In a quantitative assessment of content knowledge, students who participated in the 14-wklong inquiry laboratory format outscored their peers in both 7- and 1-wk-long lab formats on Medical College Admissions Test exam questions (scores of 64.73%, 61.97%, and 53.48%, respectively, P < 0.01). In a qualitative study of student opinions, surveys conducted at the end of semesters where traditional 1-wk laboratories (n = 167 students) were used had low response rates and predominately negative opinions (only 20% of responses were positive), whereas those who participated in 7-wk (n = 543) or 14-wk (n = 308) inquiry laboratories had high response rates and 71% and 96% positive reviews, respectively. In an assessment of traditional content coverage in courses, three indexes were averaged to calculatetraditional forms of coverage and showed a decrease by 44% over the study period. We believe that the quantitative and qualitative data support greater student-driven inquiry in the classroom laboratory, which leads to deeper learning in fewer topic areas (less teaching) and can reap gains in scientific thinking and fundamental understanding applicable to a broader range of topic areas (more learning) in introductory biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

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Teaching
Learning
Students
College Admission Test
Curriculum

Keywords

  • Cooperative
  • Inquiry
  • Laboratory
  • Research
  • Undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this

Less teaching, more learning : 10-yr study supports increasing student learning through less coverage and more inquiry. / Luckie, Douglas B.; Aubry, Jacob R.; Marengo, Benjamin J.; Rivkin, Aaron M.; Foos, Lindsey A.; Maleszewski, Joseph.

In: American Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education, Vol. 36, No. 4, 01.12.2012, p. 325-335.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Luckie, Douglas B. ; Aubry, Jacob R. ; Marengo, Benjamin J. ; Rivkin, Aaron M. ; Foos, Lindsey A. ; Maleszewski, Joseph. / Less teaching, more learning : 10-yr study supports increasing student learning through less coverage and more inquiry. In: American Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education. 2012 ; Vol. 36, No. 4. pp. 325-335.
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