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Do students enjoy group based and outcomes based learning in first year?

Diane L. Arnott
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia
Ecosystem Processes 100 is a first-year unit taken by students in the Agriculture, Animal Science, Horticulture and Viticulture, Landscape Management, and Natural Resource Management courses. Its main aim is to demonstrate to students the relevance of biology, chemistry, and mathematics to their chosen degrees. This year, group based learning was introduced into many of the modules, and the entire unit was designed to be outcomes based. Students were surveyed to determine their attitudes toward the group work experience, as well as their opinions on whether or not the unit met its stated outcomes.

When asked about their feelings towards group work, 60% of students said that their overall impression of group work had improved, and 74% said that they enjoyed their group work experience. One of the reasons for enjoyment of group work was that group members who contributed the most earned more of the total group mark; this will be explained during the presentation.

In terms of meeting the outcomes of the unit, students rated their own achievement of the outcomes at 3.8 on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). Students also preferred the outcomes based and group based learning format to that of other first year units (3.9 on a scale of 1 to 5).

We will also conduct a focus group with a random sample of our students; the information gathered from this process will also be presented at the conference.

Please cite as: Arnott, D. L. (2003). Do students enjoy group based and outcomes based learning in first year?. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/arnott-abs.html

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Last revision: 13 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/arnott-abs.html