2006 Teaching and Learning Symposium

3:00-4:30 p.m., April 25, 2006
Mary Gates Commons

Session Description

Using Formative Evaluations as a Student-Centered Approach to Improving the Implementation of Problem-Based Learning Modules

Kerryn Reding - Epidemiology

Goal: In implementing 4 problem-based learning (PBL) modules into an introductory undergraduate epidemiology course, a primary objective was to incorporate student feedback throughout the course to shape the format of modules using a learner-centered approach. 

Methods: We used formative assessments of PBL modules, enabling us to change the format of the modules.  Students answered the questions “what is the most important thing you learned from this exercise?” and “what would you suggest be done differently in this exercise to better enhance your learning?” after a new PBL module was implemented.  Summative assessments administered at the end of the quarter allowed us to evaluate the modules, as a whole, and to ask more in-depth questions, although the student responses could not be used in the current quarter.

Results: The responses from the formative assessments allowed us to make modifications to the format of the modules during the current quarter, with most of the changes affecting the activities of the final module.  On the summative assessments, students ranked the activities of the final module higher than the activity done in the three previous modules.  The small group discussion, group presentations, and in-class discussions received scores of 4, 3.9, and 3.6 out of 5, respectively.   The question addressing the instructor’s responsiveness to feedback ranked the highest of all questions on the summative assessment (4.6 out of 5). 

Conclusion: Overall, we feel the formative assessments enabled us to achieve our goal of using student feedback to improve the implementation of new PBL modules.