More Evidence That Active Learning Trumps Lecturing

Student in lecture hall
The June-July issue of The Teaching Professor newsletter highlights a study you don’t want to miss. It’s a meta-analysis of 225 studies that compare STEM classes taught using various active learning approaches with classes taught via lecture. “The results indicate that average examination scores improved by about 6% in active learning sessions, and that students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning.” (p. 8410) Carl Wieman, a Nobel-winning physicist who now does research on teaching and learning, describes the work as a “massive effort” that provides “a much more extensive quantitative analysis of the research on active learning in college and university STEM courses than previously existed.” (p. 8319) And what does he make of these results? “The implications of these meta-analysis results for instruction are profound, assuming they are indicative of what could be obtained if active learning methods replaced the lecture instruction that dominates U.S. postsecondary STEM instruction.” (pp. 8319-8320) That’s a long way from the guarded language usually found in commentaries on scientific results.

To continue reading, you must be a Teaching Professor Subscriber. Please log in or sign up for full access.

Related Articles

I’ve been wanting to write about my journey to embrace Rumi’s wisdom in my pedagogy. My teaching career...
We’ve now had ChatGPT in our lives for just over a year, but according to commentators, AI has...
Higher education recognizes the importance of tutoring support to improve student success and retention. But human tutoring is...

The first summer job I ever had was mowing lawns. Back then (this was the ’70s), I would...

Current global events, including a rise in nationalistic rhetoric, have put pressure on faculty from all disciplines to...

Many years ago my wife sat in on one of my face-to-face classes to observe my teaching. I...
The Teaching Professor Conference 2024

June 7-9, 2024 • New Orleans

Connect with Fellow Educators at The Teaching Professor Conference!