Archive for May 16, 2011

It’s in Science: Interaction beats Lecture

AP, Washington Post, NYTimes, and NPR covered this story this week — Carl Weiman has an article in Science showing that two grad students with an interactive learner-engagement method beats out a highly-rated veteran lecturer in terms of student learning in a large class.  This is a cool piece, and I buy it — that’s why I’m doing peer-interaction in my class.  I still believe that lecture can work, the evidence is strong that learner-engagement beats lecture, especially in large STEM classes. I think that this result is particularly disconcerting for the open learning movement.  If lectures aren’t worth much for most learners, what is it that iTunes-U and MIT Open Courseware are offering?

Who’s better at teaching difficult physics to a class of more than 250 college students: the highly rated veteran professor using time-tested lecturing, or the inexperienced graduate students interacting with kids via devices that look like TV remotes? The answer could rattle ivy on college walls.

A study by Nobel Prize winning physicist Carl Wieman at the university found that students learned better from inexperienced teachers using an interactive method _ including the clicker _ than a veteran professor giving a traditional lecture. Student answers to questions and quizzes are displayed instantly on the professor’s presentation.

He found that in nearly identical classes, Canadian college students learned a lot more from teaching assistants using interactive tools than they did from a veteran professor giving a traditional lecture. The students who had to engage interactively using the TV remote-like devices scored about twice as high on a test compared to those who heard the normal lecture, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

via In college, it’s not so much who lectures as how the teaching is done, Nobelist’s study finds – The Washington Post.

May 16, 2011 at 11:32 am 14 comments

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