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ABSTRACT: Experiential Learning in an Undergraduate Course in Group Communication and Decision Making

The innovative structure of an undergraduate course on communication and decision making in small groups, based on the framework of Kolb’s experiential learning theory, is described. The course involves doing in-class exercises that replicate published research about a given topic. Exercises involve completion of a group task, the manipulation of variables, and collection and analysis of data. Following each exercise, the students read the original research and other relevant materials. In the subsequent class, the students are debriefed through an examination of the class data and a discussion of the reading materials and potential practical applications. This sequence of experiment replication and discussion is repeated with a different exercise each week. The in-class activities are supplemented with written analysis assignments. Variations on the basic course module and other course components are described, and factors guiding design choices are discussed. Evidence of student learning relevant to course objectives is presented.

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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