Daily Archives: 2019-09-04

College students think they learn less with an effective teaching method

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Interesting, not surprising that students appear to learn more in active environments but like it less. The "forcing them to engage with the material" explanation for the learning more has always made sense to me. I suspect the distaste is largely that designing not-awful active learning exercises, especially ones that can be done in a normal classroom, is _hard_, and dragging yourself through hours of doing even good exercises is exhausting. Certainly the suppositions about students tending to approach education as a consumer seem likely as well. There's some side-stuff, like the frequency of no-effort textbook-slide lectures, and the various cultures of shaming people for asking questions (when people whine about "men trying to come up with clever questions" or "that chatty bitch who keeps restating what the instructor said to look smart" they are literally complaining about the audience tangibly engaging and integrating the material) that probably harm the effectiveness of lectures to factor in as well.
College students think they learn less with an effective teaching method

Enlarge (credit: US Dept. of Education)

One of the things that's amenable to scientific study is how we communicate information about science. Science education should, in theory at least, produce a scientifically literate public and prepare those most interested in the topic for advanced studies in their chosen field. That clearly hasn't worked out, so people have subjected science education itself to the scientific method.

What they've found is that an approach called active learning (also called active instruction) consistently produces the best results. This involves pushing students to work through problems and reason things out as an inherent part of the learning process.

Even though the science on that is clear, most college professors have remained committed to approaching class time as a lecture. In fact, a large number of instructors who try active learning end up going back to the standard lecture, and one of the reasons they cite is that the students prefer it that way. This sounds a bit like excuse making, so a group of instructors decided to test this belief using physics students. And it turns out professors weren't making an excuse. Even as understanding improved with active learning, the students felt they got more out of a traditional lecture.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in News | Leave a comment

‘Nudging’ Looked Like It Could Help Solve Key Problems in Higher Ed. Now That’s Not So Clear.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education | News

Article note: 1. Identify a positive correlate 2. Decide it's a silver bullet and invest heavily in it (either because you believe it or because doing so advances your career interests) 3. Discover it's far less effective than promised It's the ciiirrrrrcle of hype. This one is especially gross because it justifies tangible surveillance and pushes responsibility for student well-being onto instructors. And now that it's largely discredited, the administrative class is going to notice and justify a tsunami of cloying faux-personal spam as "nudges."

"Nudging" has been embraced as an elegant, low-cost way to fix thorny problems. New studies cast doubt on how widely applicable it really is.

Posted in News | Leave a comment