WHICH IS BETTER, 2 OR 3? STUDENT SATISFACTION: WORKING IN GROUPS OF 2 VERSUS 3 IN LAB

Title WHICH IS BETTER, 2 OR 3? STUDENT SATISFACTION: WORKING IN GROUPS OF 2 VERSUS 3 IN LAB
Author, Co-Author Janice Jurkus, Susan Kelly, Gary Gunderson
Topic
Year
2010
Day
Friday
Program Number
100788
Room
Room 2002
Affiliation
Illinois College of Optometry
Abstract PURPOSE: During the clinical training in Optometry school, most clinical laboratory courses are performed in pairs. One student sits as the ‘patient’ while the other student performs the ‘doctor’ procedures. If there are questions regarding the procedure, the ‘doctor’ student either asks a student from a different group or approaches the faculty teaching in the lab. This study determines how working in groups of three, rather than pairs, affects the student’s learning and educational satisfaction.

METHODS: Forty students in contact lens lab sections performed assigned activities while working in groups of 2 or 3. Each student experienced working in groups of 2 and 3. A faculty member assigned the students to a group. Students working in groups of 3 rotated through activities; being the ‘patient’, ‘doctor’ and scribe. The people working in pairs were each ‘patient’ and ‘doctor’. At the end of the quarter, the students will be given a survey to complete. The survey investigated information retention, participation, understanding, enjoyment, comfort level, efficiency and preference of working in pairs or threes. The 1-5, likert scale asked for level of agreement for the questions in the survey.

RESULTS: Overall, there was no preference when asked if they preferred groups of 3 or 2. (z=0.01, p>0.05) Working in pairs showed great agreement in areas of increased participation and efficiency. While working in groups of 3, the students showed greater agreement in the areas of increased enjoyment, expanded lab experience and thinking through skills.

CONCLUSIONS: Students did not feel working in groups of 3 was detrimental to their learning experience. Studies have shown cooperative learning to be a successful teaching strategy. Learning in groups of 3 may be a way to increase a laboratory class size (have a smaller number of lab sessions) and provide better schedule flexibility. Enhanced learning may occur provided the teaching ratio in the class is kept constant.
Affiliation of Co-Authors Illinois College of Optometry, Illinois College of Optometry
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