International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Preliminary Results of Using the “Take-Away” Technique on Students’ Achievements and Attitudes in a Graduate-Level Online Course in Learning Theories
James Carifio

This study required graduate students to write short weekly summaries of the key concepts, ideas, theories and events that occurred in all activities and readings for the week in an online course in theories of learning. The course was conducted twice with two different groups of graduate students two semesters apart. Little to no feedback was given to these graduate students on the TA’s they wrote on purpose. Three essay exams were given to these students on course content 5 weeks apart and one essay question on the last exam asked these students to identify and rank order three positive benefits they found in doing the TA’s (and explain why) and three negative aspects they found in doing TA’s and how these negatives could be eliminated in their opinion. The quality of student Takeaways online, using a simple four level scoring rubric, predicted essay exam achievement (letter grade) at r= +.62 across the 3 exams with students being positive about the technique by the first exam. The quality of online student responses to essay exam questions improved remarkably over the semester in a non-linear fashion with the “take-off” occurring again on the second essay examination. Online graduate students cited 86% of the possible benefits they could maximally state for the technique with 84% of the benefits cited falling in the comprehension and retention enhancement categories predicted by Takeaway theory as the primary benefits the technique should achieve. This result suggests that the Takeaway Technique may be particularly effective in increasing higher order achievement learning in online courses as opposed to other types of instruction, but further research is needed on this point.

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