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Wednesday, June 22 • 16:45 - 18:00
POSTER.19 - Enhancing Learning through Blended-Format Collaborative Exercises: An Empirical Evaluation of the Pod Model in an English Language Course

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Can the benefits of student-driven small-group learning be attained in larger classes? The Pod model was explicitly designed to address this challenge, by shifting some of the collaborative student-to-student interaction online (S. Keefer & K. Keefer, 2014; Summerlee & Murray, 2010). In this blended-format approach, 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. To date, the Pod model has been implemented in several medium-sized undergraduate classes in humanities and sciences. Preliminary analyses of student evaluations identified a number of learning benefits of the Pod approach such as increased engagement, improved mastery of the course material, enhanced critical/flexible thinking and study skills, and exposure to other students’ perspectives (Keefer & Taylor, 2014; S. Keefer & K. Keefer, 2014). However, students also identified several areas for improvement. Following students’ feedback, the Pod model was revised and re-administered in a third-year English Language course.

This poster presents quantitative and qualitative results from student evaluations of this latest version of the Pods. The results are compared with the previous data in terms of areas of perceived impact, satisfaction, and areas for improvement. Notably, the data collected for the current study is based on a larger sample size than previously available, offering a greater diversity of students’ perspectives. The results of this study 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. The Pod model epitomizes the theme of this conference, as it explicitly aims to foster a sense of increased engagement, responsibility, and accomplishment among the students – the very psychological ingredients that empower intrinsically motivated learners (Ryan & Deci, 2000).


Kateryna V Keefer

Western University
Kateryna V. Keefer is an Assistant Professor 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

Attendees (7)