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Differences that make a difference: a study In collaborative learning

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Collaborative learning is a common teaching strategy in classrooms across age groups and content areas. It is important to measure and understand the cognitive process involved during collaboration to improve

Collaborative learning is a common teaching strategy in classrooms across age groups and content areas. It is important to measure and understand the cognitive process involved during collaboration to improve teaching methods involving interactive activities. This research attempted to answer the question: why do students learn more in collaborative settings? Using three measurement tools, 142 participants from seven different biology courses at a community college and at a university were tested before and after collaborating about the biological process of natural selection. Three factors were analyzed to measure their effect on learning at the individual level and the group level. The three factors were: difference in prior knowledge, sex and religious beliefs. Gender and religious beliefs both had a significant effect on post-test scores.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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From beliefs to virtuous behaviors

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People may conceptualize God as benevolent and as authoritarian. This research investigates the influence of these God-concepts on prosocial behavior; specifically whether such concepts differentially predict a set of beliefs

People may conceptualize God as benevolent and as authoritarian. This research investigates the influence of these God-concepts on prosocial behavior; specifically whether such concepts differentially predict a set of beliefs about the self and the world, volunteer motivations, and intentions to volunteer for secular causes. Two studies, one correlation and one experimental, were conducted among college students who were Christians and indicated they believe that God exists. A measurement model of the concepts of Benevolent and Authoritarian God was first tested, and a conceptual path model was then analyzed. I found that concepts of a benevolent God were associated with a benevolent self-identity, perceived moral and religious obligations to help, and a high sense of personal responsibility with a total positive indirect effect on intentions to volunteer - mainly via internal motivations. In contrast, concepts of an authoritarian God were associated with a perceived religious obligation, having a positive indirect effect on intentions to volunteer via external motivations; but also with a low benevolent self-identity and low personal responsibility associated with amotivation (the disinclination to volunteer). Thus, there was a null total indirect effect of belief in an authoritarian God on intentions to volunteer. Future directions including the use of religious primes are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2012