Transforming the lecture-hall environment: The fully interactive physics lecture


Numerous reports suggest that learning gains in introductory university physics courses may be increased by “active-learning” instructional methods. These methods engender greater mental engagement and more extensive student–student and student–instructor interaction than does a typical lecture class. It is particularly challenging to transfer these methodologies to the large-enrollment lecture hall. We report on seven years of development and testing of a variant of Peer Instruction as pioneered by Mazur that aims at achieving virtually continuous instructor–student interaction through a “fully interactive” physics lecture. This method is most clearly distinguished by instructor–student dialogues that closely resemble one-on-one instruction. We present and analyze a detailed example of such classroom dialogues, and describe the format, procedures, and curricular materials required for creating the desired lecture-room environment. We also discuss a variety of assessment data that indicate strong gains in student learning, consistent with other researchers. We conclude that interactive-lecture methods in physics instruction are practical, effective, and amenable to widespread implementation.


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

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This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing. This article appeared in American Journal of Physics and may be found at https://doi.org/10.1119/1.1463739

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American Journal of Physics