Active learning and student-centered pedagogy improve student attitudes and performance in introductory biology.

Abstract

We describe the development and implementation of an instructional design that focused on bringing multiple forms of active learning and student-centered pedagogies to a one-semester, undergraduate introductory biology course for both majors and nonmajors. Our course redesign consisted of three major elements: 1) reordering the presentation of the course content in an attempt to teach specific content within the context of broad conceptual themes, 2) incorporating active and problem-based learning into every lecture, and 3) adopting strategies to create a more student-centered learning environment. Assessment of our instructional design consisted of a student survey and comparison of final exam performance across 3 years-1 year before our course redesign was implemented (2006) and during two successive years of implementation (2007 and 2008). The course restructuring led to significant improvement of self-reported student engagement and satisfaction and increased academic performance. We discuss the successes and ongoing challenges of our course restructuring and consider issues relevant to institutional change.

DOI: 10.1187/cbe.09-03-0025

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@article{Armbruster2009ActiveLA, title={Active learning and student-centered pedagogy improve student attitudes and performance in introductory biology.}, author={Peter A. Armbruster and Maya Laxmi Patel and Erika Johnson and Martha Weiss}, journal={CBE life sciences education}, year={2009}, volume={8 3}, pages={203-13} }