Using decision cases in agriculture: a comparison of a decision case method and a traditional lecture
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The most widely used teaching method, lecture, results in students assuming a passive, non-thinking, information-receiving role. Due to the overwhelming use of lecture, teachers face the criticism that today's graduates lack the ability to think. Proponents claim that the decision case method recently introduced to the agriculture curriculum, will transform passive learners into active thinkers, problem solvers, and decision makers. A study was conducted to compare the effects of decision case and traditional lecture teaching methods on student cognitive learning and attitudes toward instruction. The study used a 2 x 2 factorial design. Students were randomly assigned to a teaching method and an instructor. Each instructor taught identical content using both a decision case and a traditional lecture method. Following instruction, each student completed a 40-question, multiple-choice cognitive exam, and a semantic differential attitude scale. Analysis of covariance techniques were used to test the research hypotheses. In this study, there were no significant differences in cognitive leaming between students who received decision case or traditional lecture instruction. However, students receiving the decision case method had significantly more positive attitudes toward the instruction.
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