Active Learning Blog

Enhancing Teaching and Learning: Learning Fearlessly Part 3

Mar 17, 2015 9:52:00 AM by Colin Montpetit





In this last blog of a three-part series, I discuss perspectives on how strategic uses of LectureTools can be used to enhance teaching and learning effectiveness in the classroom. Indeed, now in my second year of teaching my courses with LectureTools, I’m consistently finding new ways of using its features to maximise the student learning experience - and let’s not forget the educator’s teaching experience!

Every year for the past 4 years I have used the genetic concept assessment test (Smith et al., 2008) to measure student achievement on 8 specific learning outcomes. The concept assessment test, which is administered during the first week of the class (pre-assessment) and the last week of classes (post-assessment), is used to evaluate students’ understanding of concepts and identify problematic ones. Insofar, concept inventory data can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of classroom interventions. Thus, using item analysis approaches, student misconceptions and problematic concepts can be identified and pedagogical approaches designed to address them.

In my second year Genetics course, student difficulties that are often identified are typically related to misconceptions, application of critical thinking (e.g. making judgments, evaluations), piecing a number of concepts to formulate hypotheses and predictions and solve problems. Indeed, data from the item analysis of student answers on the concept assessment test as not only serve as a catalyst for reflection and designing approaches to address them, but also to evaluate them.

Implementing approaches to address problematic concepts and misconceptions is not a trivial task, one made that much more difficult for professors teaching large enrolment courses, such as myself. In this respect,  LectureTools features such as the different ways to ask your class a question, the “ask your professor a question,” and the “confusion flag”, have paved the way to facilitating the integration of teaching and learning approaches to mitigate difficult concepts and misconceptions.

LectureTools Features:

  • Multiple Choice questions
  • Short answer questions
  • Ordering lists
  • Image quizzes
  • Ask your professor a question
  • Confusion flag

With the identification of the common misconceptions and the concepts that are most difficult to the students, the LectureTools SRS facilitates active learning and formative assessment opportunities to improve student performance by offering a diversity of approaches to setup instruction and reflections on prior knowledge (to provoke thinking, stimulate discussions and induce cognitive conflicts); to develop knowledge (tackle misconceptions, exercise skills, and conceptual understanding, judging etc.); communicate (asking questions, answer questions); and assess learning (exit polls, probe limits of understanding, demonstrate success, and review). Indeed, while LectureTools offers educators endless ways to engage the student intellectual domain, I find it also offers a diversity of opportunities to reach out to their affective domain and metacognition and means through which they can express their voice (even in a large group setting).

So, this brings us back to full circle to student engagement.  Does student engagement translate into successful learning? I believe LectureTools offer professors (and administrators) opportunities to invest in and support their students in their education by engaging them in fearless reflection, interactivity, collaboration, community, discovery, and exchange…..hallmarks of academes……regardless of the class size!

Catch up on Learning Fearlessly Part 1 and Learning Fearlessly Part 2


For the full picture, be sure to view Dr. Montpetit's webinar archive: