Student performance in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses under traditional lecturing versus active learning is a contemporary topic of high interest in teacher communities.

According to Freemana et al. (2014), average examination scores improve by about 6% in active learning sections, and students in classes with traditional lecturing are 1.5 times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning.

The results raise questions about the continued use of traditional lecturing as a control in research studies, and support active learning as the preferred, empirically validated teaching practice in regular classrooms.

According to those data, there is a strong evidence that active learning increases examination performance and that lecturing increases failure rates near to 50% in comparison to student performance via active learning. The heterogeneity analyses indicate that these increases in achievement hold across all of the STEM disciplines and occur in all class sizes, course types, and course levels.

In the STEM classroom, should we ask or should we tell?

The active learning interventions varied widely in intensity and implementation, and include approaches as diverse as:

  • occasional group problem-solving;
  • worksheets or tutorials completed during class;
  • use of personal response systems with or without peer instruction;
  • studio or workshop course designs.

The Added Value of Social Learning in “Inclusive Classes”

STEM instructors may begin to question the continued use of traditional lecturing in everyday practice, especially in light of recent work indicating that active learning confers disproportionate benefits for STEM students from disadvantaged backgrounds and for female students in male-dominated fields. Although traditional lecturing has dominated undergraduate instruction for most of a millennium and continues to have strong advocates, current evidence suggests that a constructivist “ask, don’t tell” approach may lead to strong increases in student performance—amplifying recent calls from policy makers and researchers to support faculty who are transforming their undergraduate STEM courses.

Observational Theory, a product of SLT theoretical approach, is crucial factor for getting such of experiences in learning process as to build “classes for all”, elevating eliminating quality and quantity of students’ performance.

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