Scholarly article on topic 'The effects of problem based learning and traditional teaching methods on students’ academic achievements, conceptual developments and scientific process skills according to their graduated high school types'

The effects of problem based learning and traditional teaching methods on students’ academic achievements, conceptual developments and scientific process skills according to their graduated high school types Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Aslıhan Kartal Taşoğlu, Mustafa Bakaç

Abstract The aim of this study is to determine the effects of problem based learning (PBL) and traditional teaching methods (TTM) on students’ academic achievements, conceptual developments and scientific process skills according to their graduated high school types. In this research, the pre/post test control group design was applied and the research was conducted with 46 students attended of 1th class of Department of Physics Teaching in Dokuz Eylül University in Turkey. It was revealed that PBL method is more effective than TTM on students’ conceptual development positively.

Academic research paper on topic "The effects of problem based learning and traditional teaching methods on students’ academic achievements, conceptual developments and scientific process skills according to their graduated high school types"

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Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 2 (2010) 2409-2413

WCES 2010

The effects of problem based learning and traditional teaching

methods on students' academic achievements, conceptual developments and scientific process skills according to their

graduated high school types

Aslihan Kartal Ta§oglua, Mustafa Baka?a *

aBuca Faculty of Education, Dokuz Eylul University, ¡zmir,35160, Turkey Received October 20, 2009; revised December 29, 2009; accepted January 11, 2010

Abstract

The aim of this study is to determine the effects of problem based learning (PBL) and traditional teaching methods (TTM) on students' academic achievements, conceptual developments and scientific process skills according to their graduated high school types. In this research, the pre/post test control group design was applied and the research was conducted with 46 students attended of 1th class of Department of Physics Teaching in Dokuz Eylül University in Turkey. It was revealed that PBL method is more effective than TTM on students' conceptual development positively. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:Problem based learning; achievement; conceptual development; scientific process skill; high school type.

1. Introduction

Problem-based learning (PBL) was developed in North America almost thirty years ago to prepare medical students for the realities of clinical practice (Barrows, 1996). In recent years, its application has been extended to many disciplines around the world (Mackinnon, 1999).

PBL, as its name implies, always starts with a problem. This problem refers to an academically or professionally relevant issue of which students are supposed to learn more (Yew & Schmidt, 2009). Problem based learning is informed in sessions within which there are small collaborative groups comprised of 6 or 8 students with guidance from a tutor .They deal with scenarios involving several problems in above mentioned sessions and try to find appropriate answers to these problems. These sessions constitute the foundation of problem based learning model. In these sessions, it is aimed to enable the student to learn by setting off the problems that explain the subject matter in best way (Yuzhi, 2003; Akinoglu & Tandogan, 2007).

* Mustafa Baka?. Tel:+0-232-420-4882/1308; fax:+0-232-420-4895 E-mail address: mustafa.bakac@deu.edu.tr

1877-0428 © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.346

PBL provides authentic experiences that foster active learning, support knowledge construction, and naturally integrate school learning and real life; this curriculum approach also addresses state and national standards and integrates disciplines (Torp & Sage, 2002). It has been supported in the literature that PBL positively influence on creative thinking, problem solving, academic achievement, attitude, scientific process. For instance, Yaman and Yalgin (2005) investigated the effects of PBL group having higher scores in creative thinking measures in comparison to control group. Besides, both Tavukcu (2006) and Bayrak (2007) investigated the effects of PBL on academic achievements, scientific process skills and attitudes towards lesson of students through a pretest-posttest control group design, and they revealed that the PBL group had higher scores in academic achievement, attitude towards lesson and scientific process skill measures in comparison to the control group. Similar to above studies, several researchers claimed that PBL had a positive influence on academic achievement (Deveci, 2002; Mackinnon, 1999; Oskay, 2007; Polanco et al, 2004; Sifoglu, 2007; Stattenfield & Evans, 1996; Tandogan, 2006; Tarhan, Ayar, Oztürk & Acar, 2008; Yüceli§ Alper, 2003).

The aim of this study is to determine the effects of problem based learning and traditional teaching methods (TTM) on students' academic achievements, conceptual developments and scientific process skills according to their graduated high school types.

2. Method

In this research, the pretest-posttest control group design was implemented to investigate the effects of PBL and TTM on students' academic achievements, conceptual developments and scientific process skills according to their graduated high school types.

2.1. Subjects

The research was conducted with 46 students attending of 1th class of Department of Physics Teaching in Dokuz Eylül University in 2008-2009 academic years. Students were randomly assigned to the experiment (N=23) and the control group (N=23).

2.2. The Work-Energy Unit Achievement Test

The test which consisted of 20 multiple-choice and 12 open-ended items was developed to identify students' knowledge about Work-Energy unit. A pilot study was conducted with 159 students of different branches (mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology and science teachings) to establish the reliability of the test. Three items having low validity and reliability levels were excluded from the multiple-choice test, and total multiple choice item number was reduced to 17. Besides, the open-ended items were evaluated two times by researcher, and Pearson correlation coefficient of each item was calculated. It was found that Pearson correlation coefficient of the items was not low. Thus, the Work-Energy unit achievement test was formed 17 multiple-choice and 12 open-ended items.

2.3. The Scientific Process Skills Test of Mechanic Topics

The scientific process skills test consisted of 30 multiple-choice items related to mechanic topics was developed to identify students' scientific process skills. A pilot study was conducted with 154 students of different branches (mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology and science teachings) to establish the reliability of the test. Seven items having low validity and reliability levels were excluded from the test and total item number was reduced to 23. Thus, scientific process skills test was formed 23 multiple-choice items, and Cronbach a value of the test was 0.75.

2.4. Treatments in the Experiment and Control Groups

At the beginning of implementation, achievement pretest, and scientific process skills pretest of mechanic topics were applied to both experiment and control groups. Firstly, the concepts and learning aims of the Work-Energy unit were set. Then, scenarios were prepared in accordance with learning aims of the unit. Pilot application of these scenarios was applied before PBL implementation in order to determine whether students reached learning aims or

not, and finally required corrections about scenarios were done by researcher. Twenty three students in the experiment group were divided into 3 groups, two of which consisted of 8 students each, and the other 7 according to their graduated school types, achievements in the last physics examination and their genders. In the first, a presentation was made to inform students about what PBL is and how the PBL lessons proceeds. Then, three tutors, one of whom was researcher, were assigned to each group. Later, tutors presented problem scenarios to their group members. The experiment group was exposed to PBL activities involving ill-structured problem scenarios developed through the following steps (Jonassen, 1997):

1. Introduction of the problem situation: Ill-structured problem were introduced.

2. Expectations from the group members: Group members were introduced to each other followed by the introduction of expectations from each group member leading to an acceptable solution of the problem.

3. Opinions about the problem: Each group member delivered their ideas about the problem and reflected on their peers' opinions through chat or discussion forum facilities.

4. Prior knowledge about the problem: Group members shared their prior knowledge on the problem.

5. Required information to solve the problem: Group members determined and discussed the type and extent of information necessary to solve the problem.

6. Determining plans: Each group member determined an individual study plan addressing the problem situation and reflected on their peers' plans.

7. Solution process: Using their own and peers' resources and discussing with group members and the tutor, each member created their own action plan leading to a potential solution for the problem.

8. Evaluation: Each group member reflected on their and their peers' action plans. In addition, they assessed the contribution of each group member to the solution.

However, control group was taught the Work-Energy unit by using traditional teaching methods. Therefore, the lessons were based on teachers' explanations, textbooks, questioning and discussions. Students were passive participants during the lessons. Instruction to each group of Work-Energy unit took 8 (8x45 minutes) class hours in total. Then, students in experiment group carried out experiments about Work-Energy topics with helping their tutors, whereas these experiments were presented with demonstration method to students in control group by researcher. This application about experiments took 2 class hours. Following the application, achievement posttest and scientific process skills posttest were applied to experiment and control groups again.

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Results and Discussion of Multiple Choice Achievement Test according to High School Types of the Students

Kruskal Wallis H-test analysis showed that no meaningful difference in multiple choice tests among students' academic achievements was found both at the beginning and at the end of the application when students were compared within group according to their graduated high school types (Table 1, Table 2). Since students are used to testing technique, the difference among their achievements according to their graduated high school types may not have appeared. Yaman (2003) carried out a similar study with students attending of 1th class of Department of Science Teaching and he obtained the same results as our study.

3.2. Results and Discussion of Open-ended Achievement Test according to High School Types of the Students

At the beginning of the PBL application, Kruskal Wallis H-test analysis exhibited a meaningful difference among students' conceptual levels in open-ended test was found in experiment group. The difference is between the students graduated from teacher high school and the students graduated from Anatolian, classical, foreign language oriented high schools, and was prejudicial to the students graduated from teacher high school. At the end of the interviews with students graduated from teacher high school, it was learned that 20 points was added to the students' university entrance exam scores. Therefore, the difference among students' successes was an expected result. However, at the end of the PBL application, this difference among students in the experiment group disappeared (Table 3). The result indicated that PBL approach could bring all the students' conceptual levels to almost equal level.

In the control group, while there wasn't any significant difference among students' conceptual levels in open-ended test at the beginning of traditional application, there was appear between students graduated from Anatolian high school and students graduated from the other high schools at the end of the application (Table 4). The difference was in favor of students graduated from Anatolian high school. This result showed that TTM couldn't bring all the students' conceptual levels to equal level. Consequently, all results indicate that PBL method is more effective than TTM on students' conceptual development positively.

3.3. Results and Discussion of Scientific Process Skills Test according to High School Types of the Students

Kruskal Wallis H-test analysis didn't show a meaningful difference among students' scientific process skills both at the beginning and the end of the application when students were compared within group according to their graduated high school types (Table 5, Table 6). This indicated that there was no effect of variant of high school type to development of students' scientific process skills. Akar (2007) obtained in her study that students graduated from classical high school were more successful than students graduated from other high schools in scientific process skills test.

Table 1.Comparison of results of pre and post multiple choice tests according to students' high school types (Experiment group)

High school types N Mean Rank(pre) Mean Rank (post) df (pre) (post) p(pre) p(post)

Classical 3 517 450

Anatolian 8 16.38 14.38 3 7.226 6.829 0.065 0.078

Teacher 3 8.67 7.67

Flo 9 11.50 13.83

foreign language oriented: Flo

Table 2.Comparison of results of pre and post multiple choice tests according to students' high school types (Control group)

High school types N Mean Rank (pre) Mean Rank (post) df %2 (pre) %2 (post) p(pre) p(post)

Classical 6 10.58 12.50

Anatolian 5 12.40 17.00 3 0.662 4.663 0.882 0.198

Teacher 7 13.43 8.71

Flo 5 11.30 11.00

Table 3.Comparison of results of pre and post open ended tests according to students' high school types (Experiment group)

High school types N Mean Rank (pre) Mean Rank (post) df (pre) (post) p(pre) p(post)

Classical 3 11.83 10.83

Anatolian 8 15.00 13.88 3 7.815 4.689 0.05 0.196

Teacher 3 2.33 4.50

Flo 9 12.61 13.22

Table 4.Comparison of results of pre and post open ended tests according to students' high school types (Control group)

High school types N Mean Rank (pre) Mean Rank (post) df (pre) (post) p(pre) p(post)

Classical 6 12.75 12.33

Anatolian 5 17.20 20.10 3 4.977 11.765 0.173 0.008

Teacher 7 10.29 6.57

Flo 5 8.30 11.10

Table 5.Comparison of results of pre and post scientific process skills tests according to students' high school types (Experiment group)

High school types N Mean Rank (pre) Mean Rank (post) df (pre) (post) p(pre) p(post)

Classical 3 10.33 9^67

Anatolian 8 12.94 12.06 3 0.364 0.875 0.948 0.831

Teacher 3 11.50 10.33

Flo 9 11.89 13.28

Table 6.Comparison of results of pre and post scientific process skills tests according to students' high school types (Control group)

High school types N Mean Rank (pre) Mean Rank (post) df (pre) (post) p(pre) p(post)

Classical 6 850 12.42

Anatolian 5 16.10 14.80 3 6.761 2.485 0.080 0.478

Teacher 7 9.07 8.93

Flo 5 16.20 13.00

4. Conclusion

These results indicate that PBL approach is more effective than TTM on students' conceptual development positively. However it can be seen that the effects of PBL approach and TTM on students' academic achievements and scientific process skills are equal level.

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