This study compared student learning outcomes of two teaching methodologies: a summary lecture and an asynchronous web-based method that included a case study (www.hightunnels.org/planningcasestudy.htm) followed by an all-class discussion. Twenty-one students taking an upper-level undergraduate course in greenhouse management were randomly split into two groups. Each group experienced both methodologies with presentations designed to provide complimentary information about site planning for protected environment structures; however, the order in which the groups received the methods was reversed. After each presentation, the participants were given an identical quiz (Time 1 and Time 2) comprised of questions that assessed knowledge gained, higher-order learning, and their perception of how confident they would be in solving actual site planning scenarios. Though quiz scores were not different between the two groups after Time 1 or 2, overall quiz scores improved after Time 2 for both groups combined (P = 0.03). When questions were categorized as lower-order vs. higher-order learning, a greater increase in scores was observed in higher-order learning (P = 0.12 vs. P = 0.04, respectively). Although students' perceived confidence was not influenced by which method was received first (P = 0.23), their confidence increased after Time 2 compared to Time 1 (P = 0.07). Rather than one teaching method being superior to the other, this study suggests that it is beneficial to use both. Interestingly, while students overwhelmingly preferred to receive the summary lecture before the web-based method, there was no significant difference in test scores between the two orders, suggesting that neither order offered any advantage.
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