Education

Active learning: The twilight of Chem 101?

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Science  13 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6189, pp. 1239
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6189.1239-c

Should professors continue to use traditional lectures in undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) classrooms? Freeman et al. performed a meta-analysis of 225 studies that evaluated how students performed in traditional lecture classes as compared to in courses with at least some active learning. Traditional lecturing led to a 55% increase in student failure rates, they found, whereas active learning increased examination performance by approximately half a letter grade. Besides supporting active learning as the preferred teaching format in science classrooms, these results call into question the practice of using traditional lecture courses as control groups in research studies that evaluate new teaching methods.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1319030111 (2014).

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