Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics


In this article, the researchers did a meta-analysis of 225 papers looking to examine the impact of active learning strategies versus the traditional lecture format. They found that the active learning format increased student concept inventories to a larger degree than straight examinations but that was thought to be due to the difference in what is being tested. Concept inventories test higher-level learning as opposed to an examination which (in STEM) can focus on the ability to solve quantitative problems. One interesting takeaway was that active learning increases student performance by just under half a standard deviation (about 10%) and that traditional lecture decreases performance. For an HSI, particularly in STEM, "active learning confers disproportionate benefits for STEM students from disadvantaged backgrounds and for female students in male-dominated fields.” Active Learning Models are useful for classroom settings in contrast to traditional lecture formats. Research questions still remain, e.g. testing hypotheses about which type of active learning is most appropriate and efficient for certain topics, STEM domains, or student populations. A good starting point for further exploration. Provides a rationale for when, where to use active learning and the benefits.


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Date Issued 2014-05-12
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