Friday, July 22, 2011

Students Prefer Anonymous Passivity to Engagement?

Teaching for Engagement - Still Worth Trying!
Rate lectures higher than active/cooperative learning in big gen ed courses?
What kind of evidence can be used to resolve an alleged conflict between perceived values and actual values?  What are "actual values"?
We must ask these important meta-question when an analysis of any study suggests that "students’ perceptions of the value of the activities... may be quite different from the actual value of the activity..."  
Following are more excerpts from  "What Do Students Think about Active Learning?"

"... students rated traditional lectures significantly higher than cooperative learning activities, and they rated the active learning activities higher than the cooperative learning work."  
"'Asking students in a large class to learn collaboratively forces them to lose their anonymity. Students may select a large class because they seek a teacher-centered environment, where they can be passive observers and preserve their anonymity.'  (p. 24) Moreover, students are reluctant to share responsibility for learning with a group." 
"... students valued any activity (active, cooperative, or traditional) that improved their exam performance. The most highly valued activity of the eight was the exam preparation program, followed by a cooperative learning exam review session.
"..this study measured students’ perceptions of the value of the activities. That may be quite different from the actual value of the activity as it relates learning outcomes. Students may not always want what is best for their learning. As has been pointed out many times in this publication, sometimes students resist various forms of active learning because they require students to work harder. We think that is the very reason faculty ought to be using them."
Reference: Machemer, P. L., and Crawford, P. (2007). "Student perceptions of active learning in a large cross-disciplinary classroom." in Active Learning in Higher Education, 8 (1), 9-30.
- Above excerpted from "What Do Students Think about Active Learning?" By Maryellen Weimer, PhD., in "Building Student Engagement: 15 Strategies for the College Classroom;  Tips for Setting the Stage for Active Learning," in a report available free via online download as PDF (after free online registration with "Faculty Focus") at:
Photo of people standing in crowd, each person with large paper bag covering head and torso, "The Apology Project" by Neal Jennings Some rights reserved by Sweet One

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