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The Influence of Discussion Groups in a Case-Based Learning Environment

Anna E. Flynn and James D. Klein
Educational Technology Research and Development
Vol. 49, No. 3 (2001), pp. 71-86
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30221123
Page Count: 16
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The Influence of Discussion Groups in a Case-Based Learning Environment
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Abstract

The common practice of using discussion groups during case-based learning makes the role of discussion important in these learning environments. However, little empirical research has been done to investigate the influence of discussion on performance and motivation in case-based learning. The purpose of this article is to present the results of a study conducted to examine the role of discussion groups in a case-based environment. College students completed two cases either individually or in small discussion groups. Measures included two case analyses, an attitude survey, time on task, and document analysis. Results revealed significant performance and time differences between instructional methods on the first case, but not on the second case. In addition, results indicated significant differences in student attitudes between treatments. Overall, participants who worked in groups liked their method significantly better than those who worked alone, felt they learned more working in a group than they would have working alone, and expressed a preference for working in a group if they had to do the class over again. Implications for implementing case-based learning and future research are discussed.

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