Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Influence of Reading Material Characteristics on Study Time for Pre-Class Quizzes in a Flipped Classroom

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Influence of Reading Material Characteristics on Study Time for Pre-Class Quizzes in a Flipped Classroom

Article excerpt


With the push to off-load traditional in-class content to self-study and utilize class time for the application of knowledge and concepts, it is important to understand how students are spending out-of-class time. In some cases, students are learning from reading material, either commercially available textbooks or instructor-developed material. It is unclear what factors from pre-class material may influence learner preparation time in anticipation for some measure of accountability (eg, quiz) based on the pre-class preparation. This article hopes to elucidate factors that may predict study time from various dimensions of instructor-developed reading material.

In the flipped classroom model, students are expected to come prepared to class so that class time can be used for the application of foundational concepts. Models like team-based learning (TBL) reflect this idea. In this model, students prepare before class, complete a readiness assurance process and then engage in class discussions. (1) One of the challenges in the flipped classroom model is managing out-of-class time expectations, that is, how much time students are spending outside of class preparing relative to in-class time. Time management is a major concern among learners in the flipped model. (2) We previously showed that students perceive time spent in a "flipped" course to be about equal to traditional lecture courses. (3-5) For faculty, questions surface what is a reasonable ratio for pre-class time relative to in-class time or post-class homework and how to best estimate these time expectation. One way to judge how much time students might spend preparing pre-class is the length of the material they have to study. However, the length of material may not directly translate to amount of study time. (4) In one study, pre-class time was three times longer than expected based solely on word counts of reading material. (4) Word count may only be one contributing factor but reading speed or comprehension may be another.

Reading speed and comprehension is complex and involves many subcomponent skills and abilities. One component is the ability of the reader to extract meaning. As the level of processing of the content increases, so does reading time, and this is reflected in the amount of self-regulation the learner has to use to learn the material. (6) Other components include processing at the word level--recognizing words, terminology and frequency of their use, (7-9) text difficulty, (10) format or complexity of the material (eg, font, paragraph vs bullet point) (11,12) and how well text is supported. (13) The remaining components influencing reading speed and comprehension are at the cognitive level, such as working memory capacity, inferencing, integration of material and use of metacognitive skills. (14) As such, amount of time spent reading in preparation for class is multifactorial.

Reading has been and continues to be one of the primary ways to transmit information, even though the use of recorded videos or animations is gaining in popularity. While there are estimates for reading speed (150-400 words per minute), (15)' (16) it is unclear how reading speed or reading time translates into time it takes for students to read, study, annotate, re-read, self-assess or utilize any other strategies that might be used to learn from the material. Based on previous work in a classroom setting, students spend, on average, three hours a week preparing for class, and they are willing to spend, on average, from three to four hours preparing for a 3-credit hour course. (17) As higher education or health science education moves toward more pre-class self-study, it may be important to have more predictive measures of how to translate reading material into study time. The findings of this study can help inform course development within higher education and health science education.


Two courses within a professional curriculum at a single institution were assessed. …

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