Students can experience flow from problem-based learning in Conservation Genetics
Keywords:problem-based learning, flow, focus groups, students, cognition, Conservation Genetics
Learning in flow is the ultimate experience. Flow means being completely absorbed and focused in the moment. This study investigates the possibility of achieving flow from problem-based learning in students. Problem-based learning was used to teach Conservation Genetics to nineteen undergraduate students. Their perceptions of the learning experience were evaluated using a focus group interview. Four themes were generated: enjoyment of learning activity, cooperation, independent learning and appreciation of learning. Students were thoroughly engaged in the learning activity and simultaneously driven by curiosity and interest of the subject to remain challenged, focused and motivated at the task at hand. Problem-based learning applied in teaching Conservation Genetics influenced enjoyment, an aspect of flow during the learning activity. These findings suggest that the flow experience induced from problem-based learning enhances student learning and appreciation of the subject.
Abdullah, A., & Abas, Z. W. (2011). Appreciation of learning environment and development of higher-order learning skills in a problem-based learning medical curriculum. Med J Malaysia, 66(5), 435.
Albanese, M. A., & Mitchell, S. (1993). Problem-based learning: A review of literature on its outcomes and implementation issues. ACADEMIC MEDICINE-PHILADELPHIA-, 68, 52–52.
Bakker, A. B. (2005). Flow among music teachers and their students: The crossover of peak experiences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 66, 26–44. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2003.11.001
Barrett, T. (2010). The problem‐based learning process as finding and being in flow. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(2), 165–174.
Barrows, H. S. (1986). A taxonomy of problem‐based learning methods. Medical Education, 20(6), 481–486.
Bazeley, P. (2017). Integrating analyses in mixed methods research. Sage. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526417190
Bechtel, R. B., & Churchman, A. (2003). Handbook of environmental psychology. John Wiley & Sons.
Belt, S., Evans, E., McCreedy, T., Overton, T., & Summerfield, S. (2002). A problem based learning approach to analytical and applied chemistry. University Chemistry Education, 6(2), 65–72.
BERA. (2011). Ethical guidelines for educational research. Retrieved from British Education Research Association website: https://www.bera.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/BERA-Ethical-Guidelines-2011.pdf
Berzonsky, M. D., & Kuk, L. S. (2005). Identity style, psychosocial maturity, and academic performance. Personality and Individual Differences, 39(1), 235–247.
Blumenfeld, P. C., Marx, R. W., Soloway, E., & Krajcik, J. (1996). Learning with peers: From small group cooperation to collaborative communities. Educational Researcher, 25(8), 37–39.
Blunsdon, B., Reed, K., McNeil, N., & McEachern, S. (2003). Experiential learning in social science theory: An investigation of the relationship between student enjoyment and learning. Higher Education Research & Development, 22(1), 43–56.
Brophy, J. (1999). Toward a model of the value aspects of motivation in education: Developing appreciation for.. Educational Psychologist, 34(2), 75–85.
Brophy, J. (2008). Developing students’ appreciation for what is taught in school. Educational Psychologist, 43(3), 132–141.
Choy, S. C., & Cheah, P. K. (2009). Teacher perceptions of critical thinking among students and its influence on higher education. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 20(2), 198–206.
Cottrell, S. (2013). The study skills handbook. Palgrave Macmillan.
Coulson, R. (1983). Problem-based student-centred learning of the cardiovascular system using the problem-based learning module (PBLM). Physiologist, 26, 220–224.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Beyond boredom and anxiety. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper & Row.
Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Csikszentmihalyi, I. (1988). Optimal experience: Psychological studies of flow in consciousness. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. (1997). Flow and education. NAMTA Journal, 22(2), 2–35.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly, & Larson, R. (2014). Validity and reliability of the experience-sampling method. In Flow and the foundations of positive psychology (pp. 35–54). Springer.
Custodero, L. A. (2002). Seeking challenge, finding skill: Flow experience and music education. Arts Education Policy Review, 103(3), 3–9.
Dahlgren, M. A., & Dahlgren, L.-O. (2002). Portraits of PBL: Students’ experiences of the characteristics of problem-based learning in physiotherapy, computer engineering and psychology. Instructional Science, 30(2), 111–127.
Distlehorst, L. H., Dawson, E., Robbs, R. S., & Barrows, H. S. (2005). Problem-based learning outcomes: The glass half-full. Academic Medicine, 80(3), 294–299.
Dochy, F., Segers, M., Van den Bossche, P., & Gijbels, D. (2003). Effects of problem-based learning: A meta-analysis. Learning and Instruction, 13(5), 533–568.
Duch, B. J. (1996). Problem-Based Learning in Physics: The Power of Students Teaching Students. Journal of College Science Teaching, 15(5), 326–329.
Duch, B. J., Groh, S. E., & Allen, D. E. (2001). Why problem-based learning. The Power of Problem-Based Learning, 3–11.
Eisenstaedt, R. S., Barry, W., & Glanz, K. (1990). Problem-based learning: Cognitive retention and cohort traits of randomly selected participants and decliners. Academic Medicine, 65(9), S11-2.
Ellwood, R., & Abrams, E. (2018). Student’s social interaction in inquiry-based science education: How experiences of flow can increase motivation and achievement. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 13(2), 395–427.
Fereday, J., & Muir-Cochrane, E. (2006). Demonstrating rigor using thematic analysis: A hybrid approach of inductive and deductive coding and theme development. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5(1), 80–92.
Fraser, B., McRobbie, C., & Fisher, D. (1996). Development, validation and use of personal and class forms of a new classroom environment questionnaire. Presented at the Proceedings Western Australian Institute for educational research forum.
Fritz, B. S., & Avsec, A. (2007). The experience of flow and subjective well-being of music students. Horizons of Psychology, 16(2), 5–17.
Gokhale, A. A. (1995). Collaborative learning enhances critical thinking.
González-Cutre, D., Sicilia, Á., Moreno, J. A., & Fernández-Balboa, J. M. (2009). Dispositional flow in physical education: Relationships with motivational climate, social goals, and perceived competence. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 28(4), 422–440.
Hansen, R. S. (2006). Benefits and problems with student teams: Suggestions for improving team projects. Journal of Education for Business, 82(1), 11–19.
Hendy, P. L., & Hadgraft, R. G. (2002). Evaluating problem-based learning in Civil Engineering. Proceedings of the 13th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, 133–139. Canberra, Australia.
Hmelo-Silver, C. E. (2004). Problem-based learning: What and how do students learn? Educational Psychology Review, 16(3), 235–266.
Hsieh, C., & Knight, L. (2008). Problem-based learning for engineering students: An evidence-based comparative study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(1), 25–30.
Ibáñez, M. B., Di Serio, Á., Villarán, D., & Kloos, C. D. (2014). Experimenting with electromagnetism using augmented reality: Impact on flow student experience and educational effectiveness. Computers & Education, 71, 1–13.
ICO. (2015). Data protection act. Retrieved from https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/what-we-do/data-protection-act/
Inkelas, K. K., & Weisman, J. L. (2003). Different by design: An examination of student outcomes among participants in three types of living-learning programs. Journal of College Student Development, 44(3), 335–368.
Jackson, S. A. (1996). Toward a conceptual understanding of the flow experience in elite athletes. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 67(1), 76–90.
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1999). Making cooperative learning work. Theory into Practice, 38(2), 67–73.
Johnson, J. R., & Szczupakiewicz, N. (1987). The public speaking course: Is it preparing students with work related public speaking skills? Communication Education, 36(2), 131–137.
Johnson, R. T., & Johnson, D. W. (1986). Cooperative learning in the science classroom. Science and Children, 24(2), 31–32.
Johnson, R. T., & Johnson, D. W. (1991). Cooperative learning: The best of the one‐room schoolhouse. The Teacher Educator, 27(1), 6–13.
Kagan, S. (1989). The structural approach to cooperative learning. Educational Leadership, 47(4), 12–15.
Kember, D., & Gow, L. (1994). Orientations to teaching and their effect on the quality of student learning. The Journal of Higher Education, 65(1), 58–74.
Khine, M. S., Fraser, B. J., Afari, E., Oo, Z., & Kyaw, T. T. (2018). Students’ perceptions of the learning environment in tertiary science classrooms in Myanmar. Learning Environments Research, 21(1), 135–152.
Kilroy, D. (2004). Problem based learning. Emergency Medicine Journal, 21(4), 411–413.
Kimmons, J. V., & Spruiell, P. R. (2005). Using problem-based learning in a multidisciplinary setting. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 23(4), 385–395.
Kitzinger, J. (1995). Qualitative research. Introducing focus groups. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 311(7000), 299.
MacIntyre, P. D., Thivierge, K. A., & MacDonald, J. R. (1997). The effects of audience interest, responsiveness, and evaluation on public speaking anxiety and related variables. Communication Research Reports, 14(2), 157–168.
Maitland, B. (1997). Problem-based learning for architecture and construction management. The Challenge of Problem-Based Learning, 211–217.
Maudsley, G. (1999). Roles and responsibilities of the problem based learning tutor in the undergraduate medical curriculum. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 318(7184), 657.
Meyer, B., Haywood, N., Sachdev, D., & Faraday, S. (2008). What is independent learning and what are the benefits for pupils? Department for Education Publication. Retrieved May, 28, 2011.
Mills, J. E., & Treagust, D. F. (2003). Engineering education—Is problem-based or project-based learning the answer. Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 3(2), 2–16.
Mohammad-Davoudi, A. H., & Parpouchi, A. (2016). Relation between team motivation, enjoyment, and cooperation and learning results in learning area based on team-based learning among students of Tehran University of medical science. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 230, 184–189.
Nakamura, J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2002). The concept of flow. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 89–105). New York: Oxford University Press.
Nowell, L. S., Norris, J. M., White, D. E., & Moules, N. J. (2017). Thematic analysis: Striving to meet the trustworthiness criteria. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16(1), 1609406917733847.
Oberlander, J., & Talbert-Johnson, C. (2004). Using technology to support problem-based learning. Action in Teacher Education, 25(4), 48–57.
Padmavathy, R., & Mareesh, K. (2013). Effectiveness of Problem Based Learning In Mathematics. International Multidisciplinary E-Journal, 2(1), 45–51.
Pennell, M., & Miles, L. (2009). “It actually made me think”: Problem-based learning in the business communications classroom. Business Communication Quarterly, 72(4), 377–394.
Poulton, T., Conradi, E., Kavia, S., Round, J., & Hilton, S. (2009). The replacement of ‘paper’cases by interactive online virtual patients in problem-based learning. Medical Teacher, 31(8), 752–758.
Prosser, M., & Trigwell, K. (1999). Understanding learning and teaching: The experience in higher education. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Qin, Z., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1995). Cooperative versus competitive efforts and problem solving. Review of Educational Research, 65(2), 129–143.
Raettig, T., & Weger, U. (2018). Learning as a Shared Peak Experience: Interactive Flow in Higher Education. International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 1–22.
Ram, P. (1999). Problem-based learning in undergraduate instruction. A sophomore chemistry laboratory. Journal of Chemical Education, 76(8), 1122.
Reid, A., & Solomonides, I. (2007). Design students’ experience of engagement and creativity. Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 6(1), 27–39.
Savin-Baden, M., Tombs, C., Poulton, T., Conradi, E., Kavia, S., Burden, D., & Beaumont, C. (2011). An evaluation of implementing problem-based learning scenarios in an immersive virtual world. International Journal of Medical Education, 2, 116.
Scherer, M. (2002). Do students care about learning? A conversation with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Educational Leadership, 60(1), 12–17.
Schmidt, Hendricus Gerard. (1983). Problem‐based learning: Rationale and description. Medical Education, 17(1), 11–16.
Schmidt, Henk G. (1989). The rationale behind problem-based learning. In New directions for medical education (pp. 105–111). Springer.
Schworm, S., & Holzer, L. (2018). Flow-experience and acceptance in scenariobased e-learning settings in higher education-an empirical comparison of goalbased and gamebased learning environments. 2117–2126. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
Shernoff, D. J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2009). Cultivating engaged learners and optimal learning environments. Handbook of Positive Psychology in Schools, 131–145.
Slavin, R. E. (1983). When does cooperative learning increase student achievement? Psychological Bulletin, 94(3), 429.
Smith, J. K. (1983). Quantitative versus qualitative research: An attempt to clarify the issue. Educational Researcher, 12(3), 6–13.
Tannenbaum, S. I., Beard, R. L., & Salas, E. (1992). Team building and its influence on team effectiveness: An examination of conceptual and empirical developments. In Advances in psychology (Vol. 82, pp. 117–153). Elsevier.
Taylor, C. (2006). Threshold concepts in Biology. Overcoming Barriers to Student Understanding: Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge, 87.
Tiwari, A., Lai, P., So, M., & Yuen, K. (2006). A comparison of the effects of problem‐based learning and lecturing on the development of students’ critical thinking. Medical Education, 40(6), 547–554.
Topping, K. J. (2005). Trends in peer learning. Educational Psychology, 25(6), 631–645.
van Den Hurk, M. (2006). The relation between self-regulated strategies and individual study time, prepared participation and achievement in a problem-based curriculum. Active Learning in Higher Education, 7(2), 155–169.
Walker, A., & Leary, H. (2009). A problem based learning meta analysis: Differences across problem types, implementation types, disciplines, and assessment levels. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 3(1), 6.
Walton, H. J., & Matthews, M. (1989). Essentials of problem‐based learning. Medical Education, 23(6), 542–558.
Webb, N. M. (1982). Student interaction and learning in small groups. Review of Educational Research, 52(3), 421–445.
Williams, A., & Williams, P. (1994). Problem based learning: An approach to teaching technology. Research and Development in Problem Based Learning, 2, 355–367.
Woodward, C. A. (1996). Problem-based learning in medical education: Developing a research agenda. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 1(1), 83–94.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Jae-Llane Ditchburn
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, will not be published elsewhere in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the Publisher. The Editors reserve the right to edit or otherwise alter all contributions, but authors will receive proofs for approval before publication.
Copyrights for articles published in IJIER journals are retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the journal. The journal/publisher is not responsible for subsequent uses of the work. It is the author's responsibility to bring an infringement action if so desired by the author.