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PHD - Doctor of Philosophy




This study examined the impact of dialogue-based group instruction on student learning and engagement in community college meteorology education. A quasi-experimental design was used to compare lecture-based instruction with dialogue-based group instruction during two class sessions at one community college in southern California. Pre- and post-tests were used to measure learning and interest, while surveys were conducted two days after the learning events to assess engagement, perceived learning, and application of content. The results indicated that the dialogue-based group instruction was more successful in helping students learn than the lecture-based instruction. Each question that assessed learning had a higher score for the dialogue group that was statistically significant (alpha < 0.05) compared to the lecture group. The survey questions about perceived learning and application of content also exhibited higher scores that were statistically significant for the dialogue group. The qualitative portion of these survey questions supported the quantitative results and showed that the dialogue students were able to remember more concepts and apply these concepts to their lives. Dialogue students were also more engaged, as three out of the five engagement-related survey questions revealed statistically significantly higher scores for them. The qualitative data also supported increased engagement for the dialogue students. Interest in specific meteorological topics did not change significantly for either group of students; however, interest in learning about severe weather was higher for the dialogue group. Neither group found the learning events markedly meaningful, although more students from the dialogue group found pronounced meaning centered on applying severe weather knowledge to their lives. Active engagement in the dialogue approach kept these students from becoming distracted and allowed them to become absorbed in the learning event. This higher engagement most likely contributed to the resulting higher learning. Together, these results indicate that dialogue education, especially compared to lecture methods, has a great potential for helping students learn meteorology. Dialogue education can also help students engage in weather-related concepts and potentially develop better-informed citizens in a world with a changing climate.



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