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Do Active Learning Techniques Enhance Learning and Increase Persistence of First-Year Psychology Students?

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Two studies compared a lecture-only with a groupactivity instruction method to determine whether enhancing student involvement in an introductory class would increase learning and persistence in college. Exam grades, instructor evaluations, and student persistence were measured. It was predicted that first-year students in active-learning classes would show higher student involvement and higher grades and would be more likely to stay in college than students enrolled in lecture-only classes. The results indicated that when group activities are used, first-year students are more involved and more likely to stay in college. However, exam grades were not enhanced when group activities were used.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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  • The Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition is a semiannual refereed journal providing current research on the first college year and other significant student transitions. The primary purpose of the Journal is to disseminate empirical research findings on student transition issues that inform practice in all sectors of postsecondary education, such as explorations into the academic, personal, and social experiences (including outcomes related to success, learning, and development) of students at a range of transition points throughout the college years; transition issues unique to specific populations (e.g., non-traditional, traditional, historically underrepresented students, transfer students, commuters, part-time students); and explorations of faculty development, curriculum, and pedagogical innovations connected to college transitions.
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