Powerpoint - Department of Physics and Astronomy

Are we
(Attempting) Implementing PBL in the
Psychology Undergraduate Curriculum
Gillian Hendry & Dr Sally Wiggins
PBL Summer Workshop, University of Leicester, 7-9 July 2014
About us
Dr Sally Wiggins is a senior lecturer, specialising in Social and
Discursive Psychology, and has been using PBL in teaching for
around 7 years. To date, she has received two grants to
develop PBL within the Psychology curriculum at Strathclyde.
I am a 2nd-year PhD student, funded by the HEA Doctoral
Programme, looking at student interaction in PBL (stay tuned;
more on this later!). I was the research assistant employed for
the latter project, and also have recent experience (2010) of
being a student in a PBL-taught class.
The project
£25,938 awarded for 18-month project (beginning May
2011), implementing PBL into the Psychology undergraduate
We couldn’t shift to PBL entirely, but aimed to help encourage
student autonomy and engagement in learning
PBL in psychology relatively rare (Abertay, Leeds, Linköping);
three years later, becoming more prevalent
Project based upon previous successful implementation of
PBL in 4th year ‘Qualitative Methodologies in Psychology’
class (completely PBL-run for full semester)
The materials
The project aimed to design and implement PBL into at least
one class in each year of the Psychology programme
Things don’t always go to plan! Scope of project was scaled
down to accommodate restructuring of degree – instead, PBL
components were introduced within a class
The final materials developed were as follows:
1st year: ‘Wall of Fame’ problem (basic psychology class)
3rd year*: ‘MI5’ problem (Individual Differences class)
3rd year: ‘Panoramic Productions’ problem (Social Psychology class)
4th year: ‘App-y Days’ and ‘Anarchy in the UEC’ problems (CHIP)
*I’ve not made a typo – no second year classes were converted to PBL!
Wall of Fame (1
year Psychology)
“You are a team of historians opening a new ‘History of Psychology’
museum, and have been allocated the period 1960-1970. What
should be included?”
- Sessions took place over 3 x 1-hour sessions
- Were expected to produce one slide of PowerPoint
- In final session, class leader presented each of the slides one by
one, class voted
- 1st year students, new to PBL and to psychology, so problem
seemed apt in that it gave an overview of psychological research
- 300+ in class, groups of 10 in tiered lecture theatre
- GTAs as facilitators
The Milgram study, 1961;
designed to measure people’s
willingness to obey a higher authority,
even if that comes into conflict with
their conscience (superego)
Study of roots of
aggression and
Link to Nazism (holocaust), and
Vietnam and Koran Wars; was
there a shared perception of
moral conduct amongst
Anti-war movement/
Preoccupation with war
Could link to
memory loss and
damage from war
Atkinson’s multi-store
model of memory,
1968 explains how memory
1960 – 1970:
Age of political and social instability and change. Turning point
in politics, international relations, culture, science. Sense of
going towards new, modern, shocking world. Growing interest
in behaviour. Psychology studies become “fashionable”.
violent scenarios are more likely to act
in a physically aggressive way
Exploration of new
ideologies; communism,
feminism, Hippies,
Sexual Revolution…
Led to
Interest in mental processes
Bandura’s “Bobo doll”
experiment, 1961 and
1963; found that children exposed to
Effects of maternal
separation and
Cognitive Psychology; Exploration
of mental processes like thought,
perception, memory, learning.
Cognitive Therapy
seeks to help
the patient by identifying and changing
dysfunctional mental processes. Founded
by Aaron T. Beck.
Star = unethical today; part of the search for
shocking, modern change during 1960s
Research done at this period led to today’s
knowledge about child psychology and education
and could be seen as the cause of modern moral
codes such as the Nuremberg Principles, the law
of war, and the lower percentage of violent TV
shown during the day.
Harlow and the rhesus
monkeys, between
1957 and 1963; baby
monkeys removed from mothers
and “brought up” by surrogate
mother replacements made of wire
or wire and cloth. Partial and total
isolation. Concludes importance of
primary care giver in infants.
(3rd year Individual
MI5 (3
year Individual Differences)
Instead of 5 x 1-hour lectures, student groups were given the
same amount of time to produce a psychometric test
No previous knowledge of psychometric testing, so had to find
out firstly, how to construct a test (Likert scales, reliability,
validity, scoring), and secondly, what would be an appropriate
trait to test for the personality type of someone wanting to
work at MI5
- Groups of 5/ 6/ 7, 3rd year students
- Tiered lecture theatre, but break-out rooms also
- Class size roughly 100 students
(4th year CHIP)
App-y Days (4
year CHIP)
Student groups to develop an app to help someone with
schizophrenia, Asperger's syndrome or Alzheimer’s disease in
an aspect of their every day life
Groups don’t need to know technical aspect, but should focus
on psychological research into chosen condition, and design an
app drawing on such research
- 4th (final) year students, groups of 4/ 5
- 3 x 1-hour sessions
- GTA facilitators
Initial Evaluation
Data was collected via questionnaires, focus groups, feedback
via assignments
Basic feedback (quantifying responses) measured favourite
aspects of PBL, what could be changed, study practices etc.
Basic statistical analysis of the Learning Process Questionnaire
(Kember et al., 2004) revealed no significant difference in
approaches to learning (deep/ surface), before and after
partaking in PBL
Focus groups/ assignment feedback revealed students had both
positive and negative views of PBL
- Project was scaled down (from whole, 12 week classes) to
much shorter PBL components
- Not all years got involved (no PBL in second year, due to
staff resistance)
- PRACTICALITIES (room bookings, lack of access to
computers, class sizes)
- Gripes about assessment
Why should she get the
same grade as me when she
never put the work in?!
“It was also difficult to hear
other members of the team
due to the room we were in
while working as a team”
“it was hard to combine
all of the information
while pleasing all team
“some members of the
team didn’t perhaps
contribute as much”
“because it was not graded
we did not feel as though it
was important as the other
work we had to complete at
the same time”
- (Many) Students found materials fun and interesting
- Appreciated the change from standard lecture format
- Enjoyed ‘real world-ness’ of problems
- Recognised benefits of self-centred teaching, as opposed to
being taught
- Enjoyed the face-to-face contact with peers
LOL this is so much fun!
“Although initially it seems
as though all of our prior
work was a waste of time,
we came to realise it was in
actual fact beneficial”
“I found that it was good to
have different perspectives
and I felt like we kept each
other motivated”
“I feel as a whole we
worked well together and the
sessions have definitely
benefited my overall
“Problem based learning is, in
my opinion, a very appropriate
method of improving in group
co-operation and introduces an
extremely fun oriented
Future plans…
Currently, unfortunately, we are back to square one. Although
some of the PBL components carried into the following year, in
academic year 2013/ 2014, all of them were dropped, due to
factors mentioned previously
However, my PhD is looking at student interaction in PBL, so if
we can understand more about the intricacies of what actually
happens within the group setting, we will be better placed to
support effective PBL implementation
Support teaching staff ‘afraid of the unknown’, time to develop
materials, reassurance from other Psychology departments that
it IS possible
So, are we psychotic for
attempting this?!
University of Strathclyde
Education Excellence Fund
for supporting the project
Staff and students (both
willing and unwilling!)
Thank you for
Sally for paying me for seven
months to have fun creating
the materials!

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