Interactive Teaching Methods Double Learning in Undergraduate Physics Class

The study

It compared the amount of learning students experienced when taught -- in three hours over one week -- by traditional lecture and by using interactive activities based on research in cognitive psychology and physics education.


In the study, two classes of an undergraduate physics course with approximately 270 students each were taught by highly-rated, professors with decades of experience. In the second-to-last week of the second semester, the instructor of one of the classes was replaced by Deslauriers and Ellen Schelew, a master's student in the Department of Physics at UBC. Deslauriers and Schelew had been trained by Wieman and other CWSEI researchers in interactive, evidence-based teaching methods but otherwise had little teaching experience beyond serving as teaching assistants.


The [interactive teaching methods] activities require more work from the students, but the students report that they feel they are learning more and are more vested in their own learning.

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