Incorporating Wiki Technology in a Traditional Biostatistics Course: Effects on University Students’ Collaborative Learning, Approaches to Learning and Course Performance
To investigate the effectiveness of incorporating wiki technology in an under-graduate biostatistics course for improving university students’ collaborative learning, approaches to learning, and course performance.
During a three year longitudinal study, twenty-one and twenty-four undergraduate students were recruited by convenience sampling and assigned to a wiki group (2014-2015) and a control group (2013-2014 and 2015-2016), respectively. The students in the wiki group attended face-to-face lectures and used a wiki (PBworks) weekly for online- group discussion, and the students in the control group had no access to the wiki and interacted face-to-face only. The students’ collaborative learning, approaches to learning, and course performance were evaluated using the Group Process Questionnaire (GPQ), Revised Study Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F) and course results, respectively, after testing.
Multivariate analysis of variance results revealed that the R-SPQ-2F surface approach score, surface motive and strategy subscores were lower in the wiki group than in the control group (p < 0.05). The GPQ individual accountability and equal opportunity scores (components of collaboration) were higher in the wiki group than in the control group (p < 0.001). No significant between-groups differences were found in any of the other outcome variables (i.e., overall course result, R-SPQ-2F deep approach score and subscores, GPQ positive interdependence score, social skills score, and composite score). Looking at the Wiki Questionnaire results, the subscale and composite scores we obtained were 31.5% to 37.7% lower than the norm. The wiki was used at a frequency of about 0.7 times per week per student.
Using wiki technology in conjunction with the traditional face-to-face teaching method in a biostatistics course can enhance some aspects of undergraduate students’ collaborative learning (individual accountability and equal participation opportunity) and approaches to learning (with less surface learning). However, use of a wiki does not improve course performance.