Metacognition and Peer Learning strategies as Predictors in Problem Solving Performance in Microbiology
Ebomoyi, J.I., 1958--
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The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between learning strategies (LS) and problem solving (PS) in microbiology. Microbiology problems utilized for the study were from educational software known as “Interactive Multimedia Exercises” (IMMEX). Problem solving performances measured included: the ability to solve, scores obtained and elapsed time. It was hypothesized that there would be a good correlation between students’ LS and PS. Since many factors besides learning strategies predict performance, alpha was set at 0.10. Participants (N = 65) solved two sets of microbiology problems “Microquest” (Mq), which focuses on microbial cellular processes and mode of action of antibiotics, and “Creeping crud” (Cc), which focuses on the cause, origin, and transmission of diseases. Participants also responded to the adapted Motivated Strategy Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) using a five-point Likert scale. Scores for LS were determined by averaging the item responses of participants. Regression analysis was used to determine significance, with Grade Point Average (GPA) as a control. Of the 65 participants 48 (73.8%) successfully solved Mq while 52 (80%) solved Cc. Metacognitive self-regulated strategy was significantly (p < 0.10) related to ability to solve Cc. Peer learning strategy showed a significant (p < 0.10) relationship with Cc scores. Time spent solving Cc was significantly more than time spent on Mq (p < 0.001). These findings emphasize the fact that metacognition and peer learning are positive predictors for problem solving and could potentially improve learning outcomes in microbiology. The implications for curriculum development are discussed.