Evolution: Improving the Understanding of Undergraduate Biology Students with an Active Pedagogical Approach

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Abstract

Students in a large introductory biology course at Flinders University, South Australia, were quizzed on misconceptions relating to evolution and their acceptance of evolutionary theory before and after completing the course. By providing students with a course featuring a multifaceted approach to learning about evolution, students improved their understanding and decreased their overall misconceptions. A variety of instructional methods and assessment tools were utilized in the course, and it employed an active and historically rich pedagogical approach. Although student learning and understanding of evolutionary theory improved throughout the course, it did not alter the beliefs of students who commented both before and after the course that religious theories provided adequate explanation for the diversity of life. Interestingly, students who maintained this belief scored more poorly on the final examination than students who considered evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life.

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Buckberry, S., & Burke Da Silva, K. (2012). Evolution: Improving the Understanding of Undergraduate Biology Students with an Active Pedagogical Approach. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 5(2), 266–273. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12052-012-0416-z

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