Following the logic that active learning promotes deeper engagement and understanding within students, we see the development of the active learning modules by the peer mentors themselves to be a vital opportunity for their own instructional development. By reflecting on the key stumbling blocks and areas of difficulty, and developing (or revising) their own curricular materials, the peer mentors may be more invested and comfortable when teaching the units to their peers. Furthermore, peer instructors often have unique insights given their proximity to the learning process from their own experience that can complement the insights developed by the instructors. Having peer mentors generate the curriculum or at least revise or generate ideas for the modules can also be very helpful for distributing the labor of the course development.
That said, such materials should not be developed without scaffolding or feedback. In this particular approach, with peer mentors dividing the labor and developing one module, it will also be the case that future peer mentors will likely teach a module developed by another party.
Overall Motivations and Objectives
Students continue to refine, and receive feedback on, their Active Learning Modules
To use this module, the following readings, activities, and reflections should be completed:
- Students should have previously prepared their Active Learning Module lesson plans.
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- Active Learning Module Run-throughs (120+ min, depending on number of groups)
- Discussion: Course Wrap Up (As time allows)
- Exit Feedback
Active Learning Module Run-throughs (120+ min)
Students scheduled to present their active learning module use the rest of the class as
guinea pig PEBLs to test their ideas. Other students should provide formal feedback to each group (see sample feedback form). From these feedback forms, you may wish to condense a few important points that both worked, and did not work, well in the ALM to give to the students. Students should continue working on their lesson plan to turn in with their final portfolio.
Necessary materials will vary based on the active learning modules. The Plan created
by the students should include these details.
It is helpful to provide the rest of the class with a structured way to provide anonymous feedback about each ALM. Sample Feedback Form.
To provide students with critical feedback on their active learning module content and design.
Discussion: Course Wrap Up (As time allows)
You may want to give students the opportunity to discuss any questions or thoughts they have from the course. These questions might be directed at other students, instructors, or (if possible) current GEMs.
- To synthesize the knowledge from the course
- To allay concerns students have about becoming peer mentors
Students are often feeling very anxious at this point and feel as though there is so much they still don't know about what they will be doing as peer mentors. Being able to ask questions of current GEMs can help with that anxiety. It's also helpful to reassure them that they will be getting much more information about the logistics once they become GEMs and that the most important thing to get out of training is an understanding of the concepts covered.
- Wrap Up Discussion
- Ask all of your questions. Don’t hold back just because you’re worried it’s not a good question.
- Completing Portfolio
- When polishing the lesson plan for your ALM, be sure to provide step by step instructions for the GEMs who will be leading it in the future. Think about what details you would want if you'd never seen the ALM in action and make sure all of those details are included in your lesson plan.
- Exit Feedback
- Be honest and self-reflective, don’t worry about giving the responses you think the instructors want to hear.
Assessment, Debrief, and Looking Ahead
Students should be assessed based on their work on their final portfolio. The MaGE Training Portfolio comprises:
- One active learning lesson plan (in pairs)
- Two written code reviews
- Three short written reflections
- One MaGE Training video
Successful completion of the MaGE Training Course requires completing all four parts of the MaGE Training Portfolio. There will time in class to begin working on most of the parts, but time will be spent outside of class to finish them.
Yoon, F. S., Ho, J., & Hedberg, J. G. (2005). Teachers as designers of learning environments. Computers in the Schools, 22(3/4), 145-157.
Documents how teachers designed their curriculum and revised their instruction after feedback.
Boerboom, T. B. B., Jaarsma, D., Dolmans, D. J. M., Scherpbier, A. J. J. A., Mastenbroek, N. J. J. M., & Van Beukelen, P. (2011). Peer group reflection helps clinical teachers to critically reflect on their teaching. Medical Teacher, 33(11), e615-e622.
Although focused on clinical teachers in the medical profession, the article is relevant to all teachers in that the findings suggest the value of group peer feedback. Specifically those with feedback from their peers were more likely to identify specific actions they could take to change their practice in the future.
Evans, C., Williams, J., & Metcalf, D. (2012). The teach-assess-reflect model: Using a peer feedback cycle to improve preservice intern practices. International Journal of Learning, 18(6), 161-172.
Paper describes the value student teachers gained when receiving feedback from peers after completing lessons. In this particular study, lessons were videocorded and scored by peers.
Yurco, P. (2014). Student-generated cases: Giving students more ownership in the learning process. Journal of College Science Teaching, 43(3), 54-58.Upper-level science students enjoyed and learned from creating their own cases, with the suggestion that this type of exercise creates more ownership of the learning process.