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Wednesday, June 22 • 16:45 - 18:00
POSTER.13 - Students’ Perspectives on the Benefits and Limitations of Peer Assessments in Collaborative Learning: Further Evaluation of the Pod Model

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Educational research and practice indicates that students learn best when they are actively engaged with the course material and with one another in student-driven, collaborative, small-group learning activities (Summerlee & Murray, 2010). Designed to deliver the learning benefits of small-group teaching in larger classes, the Pod model is a blended-format peer-driven learning model, where students collaborate on a series of enquiry-based exercises both face-to-face and within virtual Pods (online groups of 3-4 peers), providing peer assessments of one another’s work. By transforming students into teachers, responsible for their own learning, the Pod model explicitly aims to foster a sense of increased engagement, responsibility, and accomplishment among the students. These three psychological ingredients (belonging, autonomy, and competence) provide the necessary foundation for empowering intrinsically motivated learners (Ryan & Deci, 2000). The benefits and limitations of the Pod model have been previously evaluated in a mixed-methods survey of students from two second-year courses in English and Psychology (Keefer & Taylor, 2014). Students’ evaluations were predominantly positive, identifying benefits such as course engagement, mastery of the course material, critical/flexible thinking, study skills, and exposure to other students’ perspectives. One aspect that received mixed student evaluations was the peer assessment component, which was perceived as a benefit by some students but an impediment to learning by others. To further understand the conditions under which the learning benefits of peer assessment are maximized, we conducted a follow-up study soliciting mixed-methods feedback about students’ experiences with the Pods and the peer assessment process in a third-year English language course. This poster presents quantitative and qualitative results from this follow-up study, which will inform further improvements to the design, implementation, and outcomes of the Pod approach. The audience will have the opportunity to discuss the model, ask questions, and provide suggestions for further adaptation.


Kateryna V Keefer

Western University
Kateryna V. Keefer is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology, Trent University.

Robyn Taylor O'Brien

Robyn N. Taylor O'Brien is a Research Scientist at the Department of Psychology, Trent University.

Additional Authors

Sarah Keefer

Sarah L. Keefer is a Professor and National 3M (2009) Teaching Fellow at the Department of English Literature, Trent University.

Wednesday June 22, 2016 16:45 - 18:00 EDT
Atrium, Physics & Astronomy Building Western University