laura romito dds ms e c moore symposium march 4 2010 n.
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  1. Laura Romito, DDS, MS E.C. Moore Symposium March 4, 2010 ENHANCING LEARNING In SMALL GROUP SETTINGS

  2. Student small groups can be used as a means to engage learners in critical thinking and in depth analysis of problems or concepts. This session presents several methods to enhance the effectiveness of small group settings to facilitate learning including specific structured activities, effective feedback, and assessment techniques. purpose

  3. What are we talking about?

  4. Small Group Literature • K-12 populations studied the most • Collegiate research increasing rapidly • Lack of integrative research • No theoretical basis • Vocabulary issues • Differences among experts in the field • All or none approach • Take What Works and Leave the Rest Where’s the evidence?

  5. Theoretical Frameworks

  6. Vygotsky - Social constructivism • Learning is a product of social interaction • Collaborative learning • Time for reflection and synthesis of concepts • Instructional methods: • Scaffolding, Participant modeling, Reciprocal teaching • Facultystudent • Studentstudent • Social Cognition Theoretical Frameworks

  7. Higher order (critical) thinking skills • Cognitive development • Active (vs. passive) learning • Social outcomes • Active listening • Altruism • Teamwork skills small group learning- what is it good for? Astin, 1993

  8. May have an positive impact on women and minority students • Effect of culture • Generally superior to traditional methods • Achievement • Attrition • Attitude small group learning-what is it good for? Springer, Stanne & Donovan, 1997

  9. Why does it work?

  10. Resources • Unsuitable classrooms, shortage of faculty, library • Students • Unwilling to engage the process • Students may value it less! • Student expectations about learning • Class size • Student heterogeneity (cultural differences) • Faculty attitudes • Faculty have less control • Too much faculty prep time • Students don’t come prepared Perceived barriers Michael, 2007

  11. Communicate to students the rationale for this pedagogical approach Imperative to set clear objectives Objectives /tasks must be explained at the outset, reiterated; allow enough time for task completion Ongoing feedback and assessment of management and content –allow time for debriefing /review (in group or plenary) Small group learning: How do you make it work?

  12. Small group learning: How do you make it work? • Be aware of group dynamics • How students behave in groups (Belbin, 2010). • Ground rules • Facilitator role • build trust • teach how to give and receive feedback • resist temptation to teach!

  13. Positive interdependence- sink or swim together! Promotive interaction (preferably face to face) Individual & group accountability Interpersonal & group skills Group processing Essential components of effective small group learning Johnson & Johnson, 1989

  14. How should groups be formed? How large should groups be? How long should they stay together? What to do with freeloader /dominator types? How to grade? How to overcome faculty resistance? issues

  15. Physical space & arrangement • Circle or face-to-face seating • Computers & resources • Selection of groups • Size of group • Affects intimacy, interaction and achievement. • Variety of sizes depending on purpose • 3-6 is most widely advocated • 7-10 upper limit for productive interaction (most literature) Effective Small Group settings

  16. Cohesion & familiarity • Combat dominance • Ice breakers, dispersion of leadership, open discussion of expectations • Task Design • Reward structure interdependence • Controversial tasks / “ill-structured problems” Effective Small group settings

  17. Instructional Materials • Group dependency • Variety – vary instructional materials; use concrete objects; relevant and realistic problems • Task difficulty • Make it challenging (discourages social loafing) • Personal involvement (reduces social loafing) • E.g. counter attitudinal arguments; group therapy exercises, role play, reflections students’ cultural backgrounds. Effective Small group settings

  18. If students are not taught differently, they will operate at the most concrete level • High level cognitive skills • Interpersonal skills • Given an ill-structured problem and a group task, productivity will depend on the frequency of task-related interaction Generalizations

  19. Don’t divide the labor so each member does a different part of the task; ensure inter-dependence through limiting resources or setting a group goal. Individual accountability can be created either by providing specific group rewards based on members’ learning or by having students perform unique tasks and providing incentives for students to learn from each other. (Slavin, 1983). Generalizations

  20. Simple task instructions (e.g. come to consensus) to detailed instructions (scripted interactions /role assignment) For low level outcomes, limited interaction focusing on acquiring info and correct answers is better. For higher order thinking skills, the interaction must be more elaborate and less constrained. Factors affecting group interaction Cohen, 1994

  21. Benefits of Controversy (Johnson & Johnson, 1985; Cohen, 1994) • (reintroduction of wolf debate) debate in pairs-switch roles-debate-consensus group report • Dilemma: • Not enough structure to the interaction concrete response from students • Too much structure miss gains of small group

  22. Academic ability (relative to group members) Peer popularity Women and minorities Pre-training in group function or facilitation processing can improve interaction and productivity Facilitator role Ensuring equity in interaction

  23. It’s crucial to make evaluation procedures directly relevant to the group activity • Individual assignments derived directly from group tasks • Reflects the skills students are expected to acquire • Demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills • E.g. concept mapping, product creation, portfolios, demonstrate capability assessment

  24. Assessment of group products • Build in safeguards against freeloaders • E.g profile of each person’s contribution • Assessment of group behavior (process) • Self and Peer assessment • Not well correlated with facilitator assessment • Inform students well in advance • Formative & Summative • Don’t over–assess ! assessment

  25. Worksheets (individual or group) • Timed team challenges • Case studies • Simulations • Group projects /presentations • Audio / video sources • Role play / debates / speech assignments • Journaling /art / portfolios • Field trips • Creation /design of a product • Games Other strategies

  26. Hybrid PBL D1 & D2 ; D3 & D4Rounds & GLA PBL 4-6 hrs/wk + ILA IUSD PBL Process The Problem Ideas hypotheses Facts Learning Issues Reorganize ideas Learning Resources Revise ideas

  27. factors influencing PBL

  28. Factors influencing pbl

  29. Ill-defined problems, yet well-structured • Relevant problems • Length / duration • Objectives clear • Objectives CAN be met by case content & experiences Cases - Are they structured to facilitate learning?

  30. Learning activities • Structured • Problem solving /critical thinking skills • Independent study • Research • Reflection • Group interaction • Peer-to-peer teaching • Field trips Case tasks

  31. Case formats • Standardized • Variety between Year 1 and 2 • Case tasks • ↑Individual & group accountability • Individual assignments consensus group assignment adds a layer of complexity • Pre /post activity reflection Case modifications

  32. Case tasks • Emphasize critical thinking /problem solving skills • Case development • Student case writing • Learning objectives • Number & quality • Distribution Case modifications

  33. Timing • Daily verbal feedback • Periodic (end of each “block”) • Formative • Summative • Triple Jump – process exercise • Content exams • Compatibility with goals / values of small group instruction Assessment

  34. Formative & Summative Process assessments • Written & one to one meeting • Simpler for students to understand and facilitators to complete • Triple Jump • Calibrated, shorter cases (2 pg) • Orientation sessions ; practice cases • Reward – no spring test for achievers • Content exams • Compatibility with small group instruction – testlets Assessment modifications

  35. Small group facilitators • Initial Training • Mentoring /shadowing • Case reviews • Calibration • Feedback & Ongoing Learning Opportunities Faculty

  36. Facilitator feedback & thank you • Initial Training • Modified based on feedback; simplified & shortened • Calibration • More sessions (Need more videos) • Reduced number of triple jump examiners • Employ more student facilitators Faculty modifications

  37. Attitude • Rules of engagement • Safe environment for learning • Accountability students

  38. Done well – learning in small group settings can help bridge gap between science/theory and practice/application. • Considerations must be given to: • Goals for the learning activity / learning outcomes • Resources • Group formation, size & dynamics • Tasks • Assessment Summary

  39. Benware, C.& Deci, E. Quality of learning with an active versus passive motivational set. AmerEduc Res Journ. 1984; 21(4):755-65. • Haidet P. et al. A Controlled trial of active versus passive learning strategies in a large group. Advances in Health Sciences Educ. 2004; 9(1):15-27. • Michael, J. Faculty perceptions about barriers to active learning. College Teaching. 2007;55(2):42-47. • Cherney, I. The effects of active learning on students’ memories for course content. Active Learning in Higher Education. 2008; 9:152. • Bennett, C., Howe, C.,Truswell, E. Small group teaching and learning in psychology. ITSN Psychology Report and Evaluation Series No. 1. 2002; 1-36. REferences

  40. Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. Cooperation and competition: theory and research. 1989. Edina, MN. Interaction Book Company. Belbin, R. Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail. 2010. Butterworth Heinemann, 3rd ed. Cohen, E.G. Restructuring the classroom: Conditions for productive small groups. Review of Educational Research. 1994;64(1): 1-34. Astin, What Matters in College: Four Critical Years Revisited. 1993.San Francisco, Jossey-Bass. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. references

  41. Questions?