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How Learning Works by Richard E. Mayer, Marie K. Norman, Marsha C. Lovett, Michele DiPietro, Michael W. Bridges, Susan A. Ambrose

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CHAPTER 4

How Do Students Develop Mastery?

A Sum of Their Parts

I worked in industry for over twenty years before coming to academia, and I know how critical teamwork is, so in my Industrial Management course I assign a number of group projects in addition to individual projects. Students generally do well on their individual projects, and since the group assignments and individual assignments require more or less the same content knowledge, you would think that students would do even better on the group projects: after all, there are more people to share the work and generate ideas. Instead, it is just the reverse. Not only do my student groups fail to meet deadlines, but their analyses are also superficial and their projects lack internal coherence. I am not sure what the problem is, but at this point I am tempted to scrap the group projects and go only with individual projects. I just wish someone could explain to me why these groups are less, not more, than a sum of their parts.

Professor Fritz Solomon

Shouldn’t They Know This by Now?

I just came from the second meeting of my acting class, and I have never felt so frustrated. This is an upper-level course, so by the time students get to my course they have already taken a number of courses in speech, voice, and movement. In other words, they should have a solid grounding in the fundamentals. Yet they make the most elementary mistakes! To give an example, I assigned students an easy scene from a Tennessee Williams play, something ...

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