This study examines how students taking part in small-group, peer-led learning programs understand learning within the context of that experience.
It examines an effort to modify a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning context and the approaches to learning taken by students experiencing this environment.
This project is part of more than 10 years of research on the Gateway Science Workshop program at Northwestern.
Using a phenomenographic approach, we interviewed 45 students in the Gateway Science Workshop, a STEM peer-led workshop program.
Our analysis revealed three contrasting ways of experiencing learning within the peer-led small group programs:
- Simply making it through the course
- Engaging more meaningfully with the material
- Gaining better control over one's own learning
Each of these ways was characterized by two key dimensions:
- Learning intention
- Learning constraints
Learning intention describes a move toward an intended learning state and away from a less desired learning state; learning constraints describes both the barriers to achieving one's intentions and the factors within the peer-led small-group learning program which moderate those barriers.
Micari, M., & Light, G. (2008). Reliance to independence: Approaches to learning in peer-led undergraduate STEM workshops. International Journal of Science Education, 1–29. (iFirst article; DOI 10.1080/09500690802162911.) See publisher’s website.