June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Educational Research and Methods
11.605.1 - 11.605.16
Evaluation of the Impact of Interactivity On Student Performance
As dialogue continues regarding engineering education curriculum reform, supporters of innovative instructional methodology, such as active learning, are met with strong resistance by skeptics and proponents of traditional lecture methods. Though considerable evidence has been presented substantiating the benefits of active learning, the opposition to pedagogical change ensues as departmental resources diminish, and university reward structures fail to encourage such efforts. Furthermore, the overwhelming number of methods available to faculty can make the transition from a traditional lecture to active learning a daunting task.
At a large public research university, the first of three paired studies has been completed within a required senior level Manufacturing Processes and Systems course. Two equally sized sections were concurrently taught by the same instructor, exposing students to identical technical content, yet utilizing different instructional techniques. One section was taught using a high-level interactive instructional approach, and the other section was instructed employing mid-level interactive methods. This paper presents a new method for categorizing an active learning classroom environment by introducing the level of interactivity concept and explaining these levels of interactivity within the context of a unique experimental setup. Additionally, the preliminary results for instructional effectiveness, student conceptual knowledge gains and students’ confidence in their technical knowledge will be compared for both course sections.
Introduction Spectrum of Active Learning
Active learning has been broadly defined as “any instructional method that engages students in the learning process.”1 Bonwell and Eison define active learning strategies “as instructional activities involving students doing things and thinking about what they are doing.” 2 In his review of current active learning literature, Prince discusses that “the core elements of active learning are student activity and engagement in the learning process.” 1 These general definitions of active learning have inevitably led to a multitude of teaching techniques being grouped within the vast spectrum of active learning.
Furthermore, it has been acknowledged by several researchers1, 3, 4 that active learning encompasses numerous strategies that facilitate student activity and engagement. These activities can include (but are not limited to): the pause technique,5 class discussions,6 informal small- group approaches,7 formal small-group learning,7 brainstorming, debates, role playing,8 simulations, peer teaching and one-minute reflection papers.9 Alternative active lecture formats include the feedback lecture and the guided lecture.2 The most thoroughly discussed active learning methods include collaborative learning,7, 10 cooperative learning,3, 11 and problem-based learning.12
Kotys-Schwartz, D., & Carlson, L., & Reamon, D. (2006, June), Evaluation Of The Impact Of Interactivity On Student Performance Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/738
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