A stopgap laboratory experience

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Science  15 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6236, pp. 769
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6236.769-b

As science education moves toward lab-based courses, what happens to students without access to a lab? One option is peer-led team learning (PLTL), a cooperative-learning strategy that encourages students to actively engage in learning. Snyder et al. hypothesized that a PLTL model would lead to increased achievement for students not enrolled in an optional lab course. Non–lab course PLTL students participated in active problem-solving, resulting in this group averaging a letter-grade higher than their nonlab peers without PLTL. This difference was statistically significant, suggesting that PLTL workshops almost entirely closed the achievement gap for students without access to a lab. Although successful, the authors caution against using PLTL workshops as a replacement for laboratory experience.

CBE Life Sci. Educ. 14:ar2 (2015).

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