Those who have participated in CELT’s series on active learning approaches this semester have seen some striking data that show big gains in learning when students are taught in ways fostering active learning, as compared with when they are taught through lectures. The director of the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College, Charles Blaich, has blogged about an article that appeared in Science over the summer, showing more remarkable results. Have a look: Lecture versus active teaching redux.
The study compared both student engagement and test performance among groups who were taught physics by a “master lecturer” and by a less-experienced postdoc who used in-class questions and feedback to teach the same material.
Once again, we see interesting research into active learning being done in the hard sciences.
Why are scientists so active in this research, and humanities professors not? Is it because the sciences are so hard, that active learning is more necessary there? Or is it simply because scientists are more comfortable with designing and carrying out this sort of study?