"Recurrent and varied in-class activities help students retain information in a lower division evolution, biodiversity, and ecology course"
The achievement of learning outcomes is partly affected by students’ prior knowledge, which can be an impediment if their prior knowledge is incorrect. Active-learning strategies such as think-pair-share and group-based problem solving have been shown to increase learning gains. To determine whether in-class activities can eliminate misconceptions and help students retain information over the duration of the course, I incorporated different types of activities to address course topics and I administered surveys intermittently throughout the 16-week semester to assess student knowledge. In this talk, I will show that one-time in-class activities may help students recall information and reduce misconceptions for the upcoming exam, in the short term, but knowledge is not retained weeks later at the end of the semester. However, when students are interacting with the course material with recurrent, varied activities, there is evidence that longer term retention occurs. These results suggest that learning outcomes should align with several types of activities over time to ensure long-term retention.
Jenny Link is a postdoctoral scholar in UCLA Postdocs Longitudinal Investment in Faculty Training (UPLIFT) program. In addition to a traditional postdoc experience, UPLIFT Scholars engage in pedagogical training at UCLA and put theory into practice at our partner institution Cal State Los Angeles (CSULA).
Jenny works in the laboratory of UCLA Professors Elizabeth Tarling and Thomas Vallim, investigating the effects of novel genes involved in bile acid and cholesterol metabolism. In Fall 2017, she taught a lower division evolution, biodiversity, and ecology course with CSULA Professor and teaching mentor Paul Narguizian. During her teaching experience, Jenny conducted her teaching-as-research project, which is the focus of this CEILS journal club presentation. Upon completion of this presentation, she will officially earn her certification as a CIRTL Scholar.