Examining the delivery modes of metacognitive awareness and active reading lessons in a college nonmajors introductory biology course

J Microbiol Biol Educ. 2014 May 1;15(1):5-12. doi: 10.1128/jmbe.v15i1.629. eCollection 2014 May.


Current research supports the role of metacognitive strategies to enhance reading comprehension. This study measured the effectiveness of online versus face-to-face metacognitive and active reading skills lessons introduced by Biology faculty to college students in a nonmajors introductory biology course. These lessons were delivered in two lectures either online (Group 1: N = 154) or face to face (Group 2: N = 152). Previously validated pre- and post- surveys were used to collect and compare data by paired and independent t-test analysis (α = 0.05). Pre- and post- survey data showed a statistically significant improvement in both groups in metacognitive awareness (p = 0.001, p = 0.003, respectively) and reading comprehension (p < 0.001 for both groups). When comparing the delivery mode of these lessons, no difference was detected between the online and face-to-face instruction for metacognitive awareness (pre- p = 0.619, post- p = 0.885). For reading comprehension, no difference in gains was demonstrated between online and face-to-face (p = 0.381); however, differences in pre- and post- test scores were measured (pre- p = 0.005, post- p = 0.038). This study suggests that biology instructors can easily introduce effective metacognitive awareness and active reading lessons into their course, either through online or face-to-face instruction.