The study investigated the relative influence of note taking and group discussion method through experimental manipulations. The main objective of this study is to verify the relative influence of two study methods (note-taking and group discussion) on performance of student nurses on a test. A 3 x 2 x 2 factorial design was adopted for the study. The sample consisted of 96 students who were randomly selected from three experimental conditions (of 32 students from each school). Two of the groups were subjected to experimental manipulation while the third served as control group for the study. Training on note taking skill and group discussion study skill were given to the two experimental groups. The two experimental groups were again subjected to learning and using either of the two study methods exclusively for preparation for an examination that took place one week after the lectures and trainings. An examination on personal and environmental hygiene test was conducted to assess performance changes brought about by experimental manipulation. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and student’s t-test was used in order to test the eight hypotheses formulated for the study. Based on the principal findings that: The two study skills had influences on the students performance and that note taking group performance was significantly better than the discussion group recommendations were given. It was recommended that the teaching of study methods be included in the primary and secondary school curriculum to capture student during their formative years.
Background of the Study
Academic performance is the index used to determine how well educational objectives have been achieved. Education has been seen as the process of helping an individual to discover, develop and make use of his inner abilities, potentials and capabilities for successful living in the society. In this process, it is academic performance of individual that is used to infer academic success or failure (Seidler, 2007).
According to Dewey (2005), learning is intelligent development of all the possibilities inherent in experience. The ability to acquire and utilize these experiences he termed learning. The ability for effective learning can be improved upon through different ways and anything that can improve learning can improve academic performance.
Recent findings as presented by Nwabuisi (2004) and Selye (2004) have shown that there is only a thin line between learning outcome and study habits or methods. Good study method they said is a prerequisite for achieving academic excellence. Different people use different approaches during studying to achieve academic excellence. Dewey (2005) identified and outlined different study methods to include note taking while reading, organization of discussions groups or reading buddies, memorising, reading through and reciting.
These study methods have been used by students over decades. Several researchers (Ash and Carlton, 2003, Fisher, 2006, Udayton, 2008,) carried out surveys to determine the different study habits of students. From each of these surveys, 50% of the respondents prefer group discussion and 40% uses note taking while studying, and 10% do not have definite styles of studying .This goes to show group discussion and note taking as mostly used study styles.
The prime place of good study habit on academic performance among students cannot be under-estimated. Note is the students’ closest companion. It is the most readily available cue to the memory in the educational enterprise. Note taking is very much an integral part of the learning process; it converts the art of reading to the art of studying. It has been identified by many authors including Rimum and Master (2006); Coleman (2003); and Nweze (2004), as a means of achieving recall, reconstruction and utilization of learnt materials.
Group discussion method is a very helpful study style for some students. It is a round table tutorial class in which ideas, views and impressions are shared among the group. This also creates an avenue for problems on a particular subject to be solved collectively within the group.
Teachers, parents and counsellors over the years have been advising students to engage in one or two of these study styles in a bid to help them pass their examinations without sound basis. This work therefore seeks to ascertain the relative influence of the two study methods on academic performance of student nurses.
There is scanty of literature in nursing education in nursing students’ study habit and influence in their academic performance. The present study will fill the gap in knowledge.
Statement of Problem
The level of academic failure among student nurses within our environment is high. Over the years, it is observed that the percentage of students that fail in the nursing and midwifery council examination is on the increase. For instance, over the past decades, the council has continually recorded a high percentage of failure among students who were presented for examinations throughout the federation with only few exceptions of schools where students performed well. Many schools of nursing for example school of nursing ESUTH have recorded mass failure of PTS examination since its inception. Also the result of council examination from the department of nursing sciences Ebonyi State University Abakaliki in 2009 showed 25% pass recording up to 75% failure. Other basic schools of nursing also recorded similar results where greater percentages of students failed. This situation is upsetting and worrisome to any nurse educator and parents. The trend does not augur well with the nursing profession.
Apart from students’ poor performances, other factors contributed to the interest for the present study. In the course of her interaction with the students, the researcher observed that many students who performed poorly at institutional examinations complained of certain problems that led to their poor performances to which they seek counselling. For instance, some students who came for counselling complained of problems like poor concentration while studying, lack of understanding, others complained of understanding while studying , but when given question papers during examinations, their brain will suddenly go blank thereby forgetting everything they have read and so on. These and other problems complained by students’ point to problems associated with poor study habits.
Findings from previous studies, (Dewey, 2005, Carebridge, 2007) have shown that poor study habit often lead to inadequate learning which subsequently lead to poor academic performance. The foregoing has prompted the interest for the study. This study therefore is designed to determine whether note taking and group discussion methods of studying have any influence on students’ performance on a test. As far as the researcher is concerned; no study in nursing has investigated the effects of these two study methods on student’s performance in Nigeria. The present study will therefore close the gap thereby providing baseline information.
Purpose of the Study
The need to improve learning, foster good academic performance and combat massive academic failure among our students stimulated the interest for the present study. The purpose of this study is to ascertain the relative influence of two study methods – note taking and group discussion – on performance of student nurses in School of Nursing, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, School of Nursing, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital Park Lane and School of Nursing, Mater Mesiricodea hospital Afikpo Ebonyi State.
Thus, the study is specifically geared toward achieving the following objectives:
- To ascertain the influences of note taking and group discussion methods of learning on performance of students on a test.
- To identify which of the studying methods – note taking or group discussion – is more effective in improving performance of students on a test.
Significance of Study
Contemporary societies worldwide placed ultimate priorities on the education of students. Parents in both developed and developing nations of the world are pushing their children to achieve academically as much as they can, earlier than ever before (Sarafin, 2003, Ellis, 2002).
The paramount aim of education in Nigeria is “the development of the intellectual capacity of individuals to understand and appreciate their environment, the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skill that will enable individual to develop into useful members of the community (NRC, 1999). This aim can hardly be achieved in the absence of effective learning strategies.
In the light of all these considerations, the findings from this study would be useful in the overall teaching/learning process both at Schools of Nursing and universities where nursing is being studied. It will therefore provide a very firm empirical basis for maximizing home and lecture room teaching and learning. It will add to the existing body of knowledge in education.
The finding will equally add to the scanty literature on study habit or skill; and sharing of knowledge from this study may contribute to reduce to the barest minimum students’ involvement in examination malpractice.
Scope of the Study
The study covered two study methods – note taking and group discussion; the influences of these two study methods on performance of nursing students in three schools- School of Nursing, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, School of Nursing, Enugu State university of science technology and School of Nursing, Mater Mesiricodea Hospital Afikpo, Ebonyi State.
- Is there any significant difference in the performance of students who are exposed to note taking and group discussion methods and those of the control group?
- Is there any significant difference in the performance of students who are exposed to note taking study method and those in the control group?
- Is there any significant difference in the performance of students exposed to group discussion study method and those in the control group?
(4) Is there any significant difference in the performance of students exposed to note taking study method and those exposed to group discussion study method?
(5) Is there any significant difference in the performance of male and female students exposed to note taking study method?
(6) Is there any significant difference in the performance of male and female students exposed to group discussion study method?
(7) Is there any significant difference in performance of students with high and low mental ability exposed to note taking study method?
(8) Is there any significant difference in the performance of students with high and low mental ability exposed to group discussion study method?
The following null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance:
- There is no significant difference in the performance of students who are exposed to note taking and group discussion methods on one hand and those of the control group on the other hand.
- There is no significant difference in the performance of students who are exposed to note taking study method and those in the control group.
- There is no significant difference in the performance of students exposed group discussion study method and those in the control group.
(4) There is no significant difference in the performance of students exposed to note taking study method and those exposed to group discussion study methods.
(5) There is no significant difference in the performance of male and female students exposed to note taking study method.
- There is no significant difference in the performance of male and female students exposed to group discussion study method.
- There is no significant difference in performance of students with high and low mental ability exposed to note taking study method.
- There is no significant difference in the performance of students with high and low mental ability exposed to group discussion study method.
Operational Definition of Terms
Students Performance: In this study means the students’ grade or score on personal and environmental hygiene test. Such that 70-100 means excellent performance 50-69 means borderline performance while 0-49 means poor performance.
Note Taking: is the study method or style in which the students will read individually, taking down notes while reading in order to gain full understanding of the content of the learnt material.
Group Discussion: is a study method whereby the students engage themselves in small group of 4 – 5 in order to discuss a study material.
Study Habits: These are methods or styles, students use when reading for their examination.
Mental Ability: In this study means the ability of the students as measured by the students grades (scores) in the examination. Those that scored 60 and above were regarded as with high mental ability. Those that scored 49 and below were regarded as with low mental ability. Those that scored 50 – 59 were not included to provide reasonable demarcation between the high and low mental ability students.