Wynn, C. T., Mosholder, R. S., & Larsen, C. A. (2016). Promoting post-formal thinking in a u.s. history survey course: A problem-based approach. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 13(1), 1–20.
This article is the result of a study on problem-based learning for a college-level U.S. history class. The purpose of the study was to develop an instructional design that promotes post-formal thinking skills and problem solving. The researchers compare the outcomes of this course taught with the PBL technique with the outcomes of the same course, but one taught in the traditional lecture style. Three sections of the U.S. History course were taught by the researchers using the PBL method, and another 2 sections were taught in the traditional lecture method were both taught by another professor. There were 87 students in total who were in the PBL sections, 25 in section one, 22 in section two, and 40 in section three. Each PBL activity lasted 1-2 75-minute class periods. There were 9 units with 6 PBL activities total in the class. This is one of the reasons I chose this article, because most studies that research PBL only study one unit, not the whole duration of the class. The researchers collected data from a post-formal thought (PFT) questionnaire and an end of study questionnaire (ESQ). The PTF was given to analyze the students’ level of post-formal thought. The ESQ was given to the students’ after all the other data was collected. They found that the PBL instruction method as a significant relationship with the development of post-formal thinking when compared with a traditional lecture method in history classes. I think that this study is important to the literature on my topic because I have found few articles that compare PBL learning with a lecture style class. Most just analyze different PBL methods. It is important to compare the two to see the true difference it makes in student learning. If more studies make this comparison, then maybe more educators will see the importance of including PBL methods into their classrooms.
Cicchino, M. (2015). Using game-based learning to foster critical thinking in student discourse. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.7771/1541-5015.1481
This article researches a spin-off of Problem-based learning called Game-based learning, or GBL. The study examines student discourse through a GBL intervention in 8th grade social studies classes. The purpose of the GBL intervention was to promote content knowledge and critical thinking of the students. Three classes were chosen to participate in this study in a middle school in New Jersey, and they were selected at random. Post-tests and delayed Post-tests were given throughout the entire 8th grade, which had 10 social studies classes taught by 2 teachers. 62 students participated in the intervention, and 115 students that were the comparison condition. The game the students participated in was on the French and Indian war. There were 7 teams in total that represented territories: British, French, Huron, Erie, Shawnee, Miami, and Ottawa. Each territory was given an objective to meet at the end of the game, and were given rules they had to play by. They played this game for 35 minutes each day for 4 days. The researchers collected data through video recording of the students playing the game, with 4 external microphones recoding the audio. A month after the intervention, the students were given a 5-question content test to assess their content knowledge on the French and Indian War. The students were given the same test 6 months later. The video data showed that more students were engaging in the game than off task. With the post-test and delayed post-test, the researchers found that the GBL was a viable alternative teaching method that promotes critical thinking and learning. I think this article is important to the evolution of the literature because it shows the evolution of PBL itself within it. GBL is a type of PBL that is very engaging and fun for students, and when done correctly, works just as well, if not better than traditional teaching methods. I also chose this article because I had never heard of game-based learning before and thought it was fascinating. Having studied the French and Indian War quite a few times, I can see how the game works to teach kids the content knowledge they need to understand the war. It is truly a fascinating game.
Ioannou, A., Brown, S. W., Hannafin, R. D., & Boyer, M. A. (2009). Can multimedia make kids care about social studies? The globaled problem-based learning simulation. Computers in the Schools, 26(1), 63–81. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380560802688299
This article is about using multimedia in social studies instruction in problem-based learning (PBL) simulations. The purpose was to use the simulations and multimedia to engage students in learning about world issues, increase their interest in the subject, and create a positive attitude towards instruction. There were 359 students in total from 15 classes, within 10 middles schools from 5 different states in the U.S. The research took place in the winter of 2006. Each class was given a country. 5 country teams were in the multimedia group and 10 were in the text group. The multimedia groups were given a multimedia-enhanced web site for their global environment issue regarding their country. The text groups were given a text-based web site for their respective country’s global environmental issue. All participants were given a pre- and post-test on the content made up of 27 multiple-choice questions; a social studies interest subscale pre- and post-test; and an instructional effectiveness attitudes subscale in the post-test only. In terms of knowledge the simulation was successful and effective in students’ achieving the content knowledge for the unit. For their level of interest, students did walk away from the simulation with an increased interest in social studies. Overall, the researchers found that the simulation was effective, and students in both the multimedia and text groups had an increase in knowledge and interest in social studies. Studies who were in the multimedia group did have a higher increase in knowledge and interest than in the text group. I think this article is important to the evolution of the literature because like the article directly above, it studies specific enhancements to Problem-based learning. Instead of game, this study compared PBL that was text based and PBL that was based in multimedia. With growing access and new forms of multimedia, it is important to study how it can help PBL and other instructional techniques.