Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

The Impact of a "Healthy Youth" Learning Community on Student Learning Outcome Measures

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

The Impact of a "Healthy Youth" Learning Community on Student Learning Outcome Measures

Article excerpt

Learning communities are becoming increasingly popular in the quest for enhancing student learning. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the "Healthy Youth " Learning Community on student learning outcome measures. In this study, the authors compared student learning outcome measures of students enrolled in those sections of HED 332 that were involved in the Health Youth Learning Community with those who were not. The outcome measures used were: midterm exam, final exam, lesson plan, lesson plan presentation, and overall course average. Results indicate a statistically significant difference on midterm and final exam scores.

Learning communities are becoming increasingly popular in the quest for enhancing student learning. Research on learning communities indicates that participation improves academic performance and retention (Hotchkiss, Moore, & Pitts, 2006). The underlying premises are mat

* involving students in a small community early in his/her academic career assists in developing confidence and facilitates social integration (Bean & Eaton, 2001-02);

* making cross-disciplinary connections across multiple courses improves student learning (Wolf & Brandt, 1998);

* peer interaction and engagement enhances learning (Springer, Stann, & Donovan, 1999);

* students learn best through active engagement, hands-on problem solving and application (Kuh, Pace, & Vesper, 1997); and

* developing meaningful academic relationships with faculty contributes to student success (Lamport, 1993).

Research by Tinto and Russo (1994) indicated that those who participate in learning communities become more involved in both in-class and out-of-class activities, spend more time and effort on academic activities, and become more actively involved learners who take greater responsibility for their learning. Price's (2005) study indicated that students who participate in learning communities get better grades and re-enroll in subsequent terms at higher rates as compared to their peers. Pike (1997) found that participation resulted in significantly higher levels of involvement and interaction with faculty and peers, greater integration of information obtained in and out of class, gains in general education, and gains in intellectual development Similarly, a learning community initiative geared toward improving minority students' outcomes in mathematics and science was overwhelmingly successful: over the course of three years, a 75% failure rate in precalculus courses was transformed into a 75%-80% pass rate. Students attributed their success to the development of strong friendship bonds, the desire and ability to engage in study teams, and much higher levels of self-confidence (Fredericksen, 1998). According to Smith and her colleagues (2004), learning communities are becoming one of the most powerful interventions on the educational landscape because they provide a comprehensive, cost-effective framework for enhancing student learning that is applicable in many different types of institutions.

Learning communities purposefully restructure the curriculum to link courses or coursework as a way for students to find greater coherence in what they are learning through increased interaction (Tinto, 1998). Typically, learning communities include collaborative and active approaches to learning, team teaching, and interdisciplinary mêmes (Gabelnick, MacGregor, Matthews, & Smith, 1990).

At the heart of learning communities are proliferations of engaged pedagogical practices that promote the use of active learning strategies in the classroom. Such active learning strategies consist of the use of service learning, problem-based learning, collaborative or cooperative learning, classroom assessment techniques, writing, and other activities that can be used across multiple classes to enable students to master the content (Smim, MacGregor, Matthews, & Gabelnick, 2004). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.