Grant funds study on motivation in study groups

Two UMSI researchers will investigate the value of motivational messages and peer interaction on study group attendance as part of a grant from U-M’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) and the Vice Provost for Global and Engaged Education.

Tanya Rosenblat

The researchers, UMSI associate professor Tanya Rosenblat and joint UMSI and LSA economics PhD candidate Carrie Wenjing Xu, will attend the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Symposium January 5 with other grantees to kick off the project, which is funded by an $8,000 Investigating Student Learning (ISL) Grant.

Studies have shown that students involved in study groups for courses often get higher grades than those who are not, but one major challenge facing study groups is low attendance, especially after the first exam. Rosenblat and Xu will look at the effect of advising messages whose content is based on Growth Mindset Theory—the idea that intelligence is not a fixed attribute but one developed through effort toward mastery—on study group attendance. They will also investigate the spillover effect of these messages to peers who are in the same study group but do not receive the messages.

Carrie Wenjing Xu

The researchers hope results can shed light on potential mechanisms to motivate student engagement in course-related actives as well as advance understanding of self-agency and peer interaction in STEM field education, Xu said.

CRLT grants are intended to enhance learning and teaching at the University of Michigan, and ISL Grants provide up to $8,000 for faculty and faculty-student teams investigating educational practices that promote engagement, including self-agency, collaboration and teamwork.

 
Posted on January 13, 2016