Cooperative Tutorial Group Learning Influences on Individual Student Academic Success in a Problem-Based Learning Environment

Purpose/Hypothesis : Cooperative learning, where individuals are dependent on group members in order to achieve their goals, is an integral part of the problem-based learning process. The purpose of this study was (1) to examine the relationship of cooperative group learning variables in problem-based learning (PBL) tutorial groups to the academic success of the individuals in the group and (2) to examine the reliability of two different instruments measuring group function. In a PBL program, the tutorial group provides peer-to-peer cooperative learning guided by a tutor/faculty facilitator to develop and explore learning issues related to a patient case. It was hypothesized that there would be a positive correlation between outcome measures of cooperative learning and individual exam scores.Number of Subjects : 51 DPT studentsMaterials/Methods : At the end of the first semester of an entry-level PBL DPT program, measures of tutorial group function (independent variables) and the sum of individual integrated exam scores (dependent variable) across courses (PT Reasoning, Professional Topics, Foundational Sciences, and Patient/Client Management) were collected. Measures of group function included (1) TuckmanÕs group development model, (Òforming, storming, norming, performingÓ) which had 6 subcomponents, and (2) a survey of group development questionnaire created by Dimock and Kass, which had 13 subcomponents. A statistical analysis using PearsonÕs correlation was run on all measures to look for relationships.Results : A statistical analysis was done using SPSS 19, and the following statistically significant correlations were found: TuckmanÕs group model, high scores on subcomponent 4 (decision making by consensus) correlated with high test scores of individual students [Pearson r = .292, p = .019, one tailed]. Strong problem solving skills from the survey of group development correlated with strong individual test scores as well [Pearson r = .265, p = .03, one-tailed]. Group means for level of functioning as measured by TuckmanÕs group model and the survey of group development were highly correlated [Pearson r = 0.94, p < .01].Conclusions : A strong relationship was found between the two group-assessment tools used in this study. Group subcomponents of decision making by consensus and group pooling of ideas to problem solve both appear to have a positive relationship to individual academic student performance. Better scores on group functioning for decision making and problem solving predicted better individual student performance on academic assessment of skills.Clinical Relevance : Cooperative learning, particularly the pooling of ideas and making decisions by consensus, correlates with greater individual student academic success. This shows the importance of the group process in enhancing the individual student learning process. It is also important for faculty to trust that a PBL tutorial group learning process is valuable when allowing group development to evolve through the full stages of forming, storming, norming, and performing.

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  • Control #: 1724390
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Amy Wagner, Lynne Hughes, Susan G. Klappa
  • Keywords: Problem-Based Learning|cooperative learning|student success

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