Type of Document Dissertation Author Razzouk, Rim Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04052011-144955 Title The Effect of Case Studies on Individual Learning Outcomes, Attitudes Toward Instruction, and Team Shared Mental Models in a Team-Based Learning Environment in an Undergraduate Educational Psychology Course Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Tristan Johnson Committee Chair David Eccles Committee Member Valerie Shute Committee Member Cathy Levenson University Representative Keywords
- Team-Based Learning
- Learning Outcomes
- Case Studies
- Shared Mental Models
Date of Defense 2011-03-18 Availability unrestricted AbstractTeams are valued and have been used in different sectors in the business setting because they are powerful in solving complex problems, and in promoting organizational effectiveness and goal achievement (Guzzo & Dickson, 1996). In the educational setting, team learning is consistent with several learning theories such as, situated cognition (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and constructivism (Vygotsky, 1986). The common element among these theories is that learning takes place in a social context where interaction and authentic experience are critical (Driscoll, 2000). One of the newly implemented team learning strategies in education is Team-Based Learning (TBL), which requires students to work together to solve complex problems (Michaelsen, Knight, & Fink, 2004). An example of an instructional method that includes problem solving is the case-study method, which engages students in solving case studies (i.e., real-world problems) (Savery, 2006). In order for teams to be successful in solving complex problems, team members should build shared knowledge that enables them to form accurate explanations and expectations for the team and task (Cannon-Bowers, Salas, & Converse, 1993). This team knowledge sharing is represented by shared knowledge structures known as Shared Mental Models (SMM).
Evidence supports the effects of case studies on individual learning outcomes and attitudes toward instruction (e.g., Chaplin, 2009); however, evidence is lacking about the effects of case studies when implemented with TBL. Existing research shows the potential of TBL, but there is little empirical evidence about the effectiveness of this instructional strategy in educational settings (Michaelsen et al., 2004). Research also supports the link between SMM and team performance (Lee & Johnson, 2008). Researchers have found that certain interventions can improve team SMM, which leads to greater team performance (e.g., Lim & Klein, 2006). The team SMM framework can be applied across disciplines, such as in education, where team learning strategies are used (Mohammed & Dumville, 2001). Despite this potential, little empirical research has investigated team SMM in real-world settings specifically in education (Woods, Felder, Rugarcia, & Stice, 2000). These gaps in literature and the importance of understanding the effect of these strategies were the primary reasons behind this study.
The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of case studies on individual learning outcomes, individual attitudes toward instruction, and team SMM in a TBL environment in an undergraduate educational psychology course. The study employed a Latin Square design whereby approximately 105 students were randomly assigned to one of two groups (i.e., case-study treatment or knowledge-representation treatment). Students in the case-study group received a case study after instruction, while students in the knowledge-representation group engaged in an activity that did not involve problem solving.
Individual learning outcomes (i.e., knowledge and comprehension) were assessed through two paper-based exams. Learners' attitudes toward instruction were measured in terms of attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction using Kellerís Course Interest Survey (2010). Team SMM (i.e., degree and similarity) were measured through the Team Assessment and Diagnostic Instrument (Johnson et al., 2007). This instrument included five factors related to team and general task SMM. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) were employed to analyze differences between the case-study group and the knowledge-representation group in terms of the specified variables. Repeated Measure (RM) ANOVA and RM MANOVA were then employed as post hoc analyses for individual studentsí attitudes and team SMM.
The first supporting research question of the study examined the effects of the case studies on individual learning outcomes. Significant differences were found between the case-study group and the knowledge-representation group in part-2, but not in part-1 of the semester. The direction of these differences was consistent with the hypothesis. The second supporting research question was examined the effects of the case studies on individual studentís attitudes. Findings revealed that the case-study group had more positive attitudes in terms of attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction than the knowledge-representation group in part-2 but not in part-1. Finally, the third supporting research question investigated the effect of case studies on team. There was no strong evidence of differences between groups on SMM degree score in either part-1 or part-2. However, groups significantly differed on SMM similarity score in part-2 of the semester. Post hoc analysis for team SMM scores revealed significant interactions.
Overall, the case-study method was effective as indicated by generally higher learning outcomes, more positive attitudes, and better team SMM for the case-study treatment group as compared to the knowledge-representation group, specifically in part-2. The case-study method could be realistically adopted for use in the educational psychology course and similar academic settings to maximize the performance of individuals and teams in a TBL environment. Similar studies could be designed, empirically examined, and potentially employed to promote team success in handling complex problems encountered inside the classroom and/or other learning and performance contexts.
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