Design Piracy: Student Perceptions of a Constructive Controversy Activity
Optimal learning occurs when students are interested in the subject matter, are motivated with challenging and quality learning opportunities, and when immersed in atmospheres that make learning enjoyable. One technique to promote optimal learning is through the use of constructive controversies. The purpose of this study was to provide an example of a constructive controversy and to explore student perceptions regarding the learning format. The respondents (n=126 undergraduates) engaged in the constructive controversy assignment and completed a questionnaire to assess variables including new thinking, enjoyment, and demographic information. Regression analysis indicated that new thinking as a result of participation in the constructive controversy was a unique predictor of enjoyment. The findings suggested that students were actively engaged in the topic and constructed knowledge through the synthesizing of information. The activity allowed students the opportunity to practice the general skills of inquiry, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. Implications of this study point to the advisability of including the constructive controversy activity into learning activities in higher education.
This article is from College Student Journal, 2007, 41(4); 1046-1054. Posted with permission.