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Mastery learning in the context of university education

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Abstract:

Developed by Benjamin Bloom in the 1970s, Mastery Learning (ML)is a pedagogical approach that aims to circumvent the problemsof conventional group-based teaching and one-to-one individualtutoring, so that better academic perfor mance can be achieved in amore realistic and cost-effective manner. While ML has consistentlyproduced positive effects on the students’ academic and affectiveoutcomes, the amplitude of its benefit has been the subject offrequent contentions. The discrepancies are primarily due to theinterplay of multiple extraneous factors that can either diminish orpromote the success of ML. Bearing in mind the numerous factorscapable of influencing the overall effectiveness of ML, is ML stillamendable for university education in the 21stcent u r y? This reviewwill first provide background to ML, followed by the merits andissues associated with its use. Different factors that can affectthe effectiveness of ML will subsequently be examined. Lastly,modifications to better tailor ML for university education will besuggested and discussed. It was found that several unique featuresof the university curriculum promote the use of ML. ML can befurther modified to better suit university education by combiningwith modern information technology and other effective teachingmethods.

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