Understanding the Integrated Learning Course Model: Academic Transition to Tertiary Education

David R. Arendale


In 1972, the TRIO program leaders at the University of Minnesota (UMN) developed the Integrated Learning (IL) course to meet academic and cultural transition needs of their Upward Bound (UB) secondary school students. These courses were offered during the UB summer bridge program for students who were concurrently enrolled in academically-challenging tertiary courses following graduation from secondary school. Later, use of the IL course shifted from the UB program to the tertiary-level TRIO Student Support Services program. An academically-challenging course like introductory psychology is linked with an IL course. The IL course is customized to use content of its companion class as context for mastering learning strategies and orienting students to the rigor of the tertiary learning environment. The IL course approach has assisted TRIO students improve their academic success in the rigorous academic environment as well as acclimate to the social climate of UMN, one of the largest universities in the United States. The primary purpose of this article is providing an overview of the IL course approach with sufficient information so other institutions could replicate it. Two quasi-experimental studies examined the possible benefits of the IL course. One was in connection with an introductory psychology course. The IL course students earned statistically significantly higher final course grades than nonparticipants. Another study with an introductory biology course replicated results of higher final course grades for IL course students. The IL course fostered higher final course grades and expanded positive study behaviors and their meta cognitive skills necessary for academic success.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v3n4p1


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International Journal of Higher Education
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