Effects of individual versus online collaborative case study learning strategies on critical thinking of undergraduate students

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Lee, Kathryn S.

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In support of constructivist student-centered learning in higher education, this dissertation examined the effects of individual versus online collaborative case study learning on the development of critical thinking skills in undergraduate students. Case study learning was integrated into EDP 1350: Effective Learning, an undergraduate course designed to improve students’ potential for academic success. A technology readiness survey was administered to participants prior to the case study learning to assess their readiness to participate in the online component of the learning. Case studies related to self-regulation of behavior, motivation, and cognition for academic tasks were used as stimulus prompts. Facione & Facione’s (1996) holistic critical thinking rubric was used to measure the change in participants’ critical thinking over the completion of the case study learning analyses. A nonequivalent (pretest and posttest) control-group design was used to obtain statistical, quantitative results from the sample of eighty undergraduate students, and a process satisfaction questionnaire was used to survey students’satisfaction with various aspects of the case study learning analyses. Between-group repeated measures analysis detected no significant mean differences in critical thinking between the treatment group (online collaborative discussion) and the comparison group (traditional individual assignment) as measured by the holistic critical thinking scoring rubric. Repeated measures within-group analysis showed significant gains in critical thinking within both the treatment and comparison groups. A between-group technology readiness survey analysis showed no significant differences in technology readiness between the groups, and a between-groups process satisfaction questionnaire analysis showed no significant differences in process satisfaction between the groups. Overall, participants in both groups reported feeling satisfied with the case study learning analyses. The purpose of this research was to explore the use of asynchronous computer-mediated collaborative case study learning to promote critical thinking in undergraduate students and contribute to the field of instructional technology as a tool to enrich classroom learning.