Advocates assert that experiential/applicational learning facilitates deep understanding but there is a dearth of empirical research testing the effectiveness of experiential learning in university geology courses. Domack (1999) and Moecher (2004) document applicational assignments within geology courses. These evaluations, however, are based solely on instructor opinion and informal student comments. To evaluate the effectiveness of experiential assignments this study utilizes empirical data from control and test groups in each of two semesters of Geology 100, a general education course on dinosaurs. Control groups completed traditional research papers which were replaced by experiential assignments in the test groups. The first semester groups exhibited no statistical difference in exam scores. Following a redesign of the experiential assignment for the second semester, the test group scored 4.8% better on average on exams than the control group. Post-exam questionnaires revealed that the test groups in both semesters of the study felt the experiential assignments provided significant exam preparation, an opinion not shared by the control groups' experience with term papers.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Ortiz, Nicole Elizabeth, "The Impact of Experiential Virtual Dinosaur Excavation Assignments on Exam Preparation and Performance inÂ an Introductory, University-Level Geology Course" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8736.
experiential learning, undergraduate geology, instructional design, applicational assignments, STEM education