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Abstract

This paper aims to examine the relative impacts of three different models of learning (collaborative learning, traditional lecturing and process-oriented guided inquiry learning [POGIL]) on student performance and learning perceptions. In a controlled case study, we measured the learning outcomes of 57 undergraduates in a chemistry course taught by the different learning modules, using quizzes and exams as performance measures. In one academic quarter, the collaborative learning method was used exclusively whereas all three models were used subsequently in a second quarter by dividing up lectures into 4 different modules. Student quiz and exam outcomes indicated significant difference between collaborative learning and traditional lecturing (P = 0.01) but not within the active learning variants or POGIL versus traditional lecturing (P > 0.05), suggesting students performed best on content taught by collaborative learning. When prompted to pick a learning module, 67% of the students chose collaborative learning but not POGIL, indicative of student preference for one active learning variant over the other. However, student engagement and higher-order thinking appeared to be higher under the POGIL module though both skills were also evident during the collaborative learning period. Based on the outcome of the present study, it is recommended that purely inquiry-based lectures should employ short-burst intermittent lecturing to overcome student resistance and negative perceptions.

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