Academic journal article Journal of Financial Education

Teaching Financial Literacy with Process-Oriented Guided-Inquiry Learning (POGIL)

Academic journal article Journal of Financial Education

Teaching Financial Literacy with Process-Oriented Guided-Inquiry Learning (POGIL)

Article excerpt

This project describes the adaptation of Process-Oriented Guided-Inquiry Learning (POGIL) to an undergraduate financial literacy course and compares the learning gains from this method vs. traditional lecture. Students enrolled in six sections of a financial literacy course at a large, rural, southeastern university received instruction either through lecture only (N = 113) or a hybrid of lecture and POGIL (N = 102). The hybrid group outperformed the lecture group on 60% of classroom assignments. Within the hybrid group, students scored significantly higher on exam questions derived from POGIL material than from lecture material at both the "Remember" and "Apply" levels of Anderson and Krathwohl's (2001) taxonomy. Results support POGIL to be a viable alternative to lecture in teaching financial literacy. Sample POGIL activity is included.


Finding more effective ways to teach courses in basic financial literacy is of critical importance. Many college students have insufficient knowledge of basic financial literacy (JumpStart, 2008), a problem that begins in high school (Scott, 2010). Further, many struggle with budgeting and saving (Henry, Weber and Yarbrough, 2001; Gutter and Copur, 2011) and credit (Joo, Grable and Bagwell, 2003; Robb, 2011). Although alternatives to classroom instruction, such as peer financial counseling, have been found effective (Borden, Lee, Serido and Collins, 2008; Maurer and Lee, 2011), it is still the case that participation in college personal finance classes improves financial literacy (Peng, Bartholomae, Fox and Cravener, 2007; Lai, Kwan, Kadir, Abdullah and Yap, 2010). What remains to be seen is whether more effective ways of teaching financial literacy can be found.

This project proposes and evaluates Process-Oriented Guided-Inquiry Learning (POGIL) as a learner-centered approach to teaching financial literacy. Originally developed for the natural sciences and funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), POGIL was created to develop instructional materials to assist college faculty in transitioning from a Asage on the stage@ didactic lecture approach to a Aguide on the side@ learner-centered approach (Hanson, 2006).

A POGIL classroom or lab consists of any number of students working in small groups on specially designed guided inquiry materials. These materials supply students with data or information followed by leading questions designed to guide them toward formulation of their own valid conclusionsCessentially a recapitulation of the scientific method. The instructor serves as facilitator, observing and periodically addressing individual and classroom-wide needs. (, n.d.)

Because substantial material explaining how POGIL works exists elsewhere (e.g., Hanson, 2006;, n.d.), only a brief introduction will be provided here. POGIL promotes student learning through the implementation of the Learning Cycle (Abraham, 2005; Karplus and Their, 1967; Piaget, 1964). This cycle has three phases: 1. Exploration. 2. Concept Invention/Formation or Term Introduction. 3. Application. This cycle mimics the process of the scientific method. In the exploration phase, students receive a model to investigate and critical thinking questions designed to guide their investigation of the model in a specific way to help them reach correct conclusions. In the concept invention phase, students are presented with the name for the concept or term that they have explored in the first phase. That is, rather than first presenting students with the name of the term or concept, and then providing examples illustrating it (as is common practice when lecturing), students get to explore the material and inductively Abuild@ the concept, only learning its name after they have discovered it. Finally, in the application phase, the students= understanding of the new concept they have discovered is applied to similar contexts through exercises or new contexts through problems. …

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