Implementation and evaluation of a student-centered learning unit: A case study

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Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to explore the issues involved in implementing a technology-enhanced student-centered unit in order to provide recommendations to improve and enhance these types of learning activities. Specifically, the study examined problems students encountered in completing the unit activities, problems the teacher encountered in facilitating the delivery of the unit to her students, and strategies to improve and enhance these types of learning activities. One teacher and the 21 students in her intact United States history class participated in the study. The central unit problem required students to determine the strategies that should be pursued in 1968 to continue the struggle for a more just, equal United States society. Students worked in teams to gather data from an electronic database of primary- and secondary-source materials, and use the data to develop solutions to the unit problem. Results of this study suggest that a variety of factors impact the success or failure of student-centered activities, including student orientation to the unit problem, student collaboration, teacher management strategies, and student accountability mechanisms. These results also provide insight into how the design of these types of activities can be improved. Perhaps the most important considerations that need additional attention are the additional aids required by teachers as they struggle to implement these types of activities in their classrooms.