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Understanding the Variable Effect of Instructional Innovations on Student Learning Documents

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Understanding the Variable Effect of Instructional Innovations on Student Learning 

written by Heidi L. Iverson

As a result of dissatisfaction with the traditional lecture-based model of education a large number of reform-oriented instructional innovations have been developed, enacted, and studied in undergraduate physics courses. While previous work has shown that the impact of instructional innovations on student learning has been overwhelmingly positive, it has also been highly variable. The purpose of this analysis is to investigate this variability. For this analysis, 79 published studies on undergraduate physics instructional innovations were analyzed with respect to the types of innovations used and the methodological characteristics of the studies themselves. The findings of this analysis have indicated that nearly half of the variability in effect size can be accounted for by study design characteristics rather than by the characteristics of the innovations used. However, a subsequent analysis illustrated that one specific innovation, Workshop/Studio Physics, appears to be particularly effective within the observed sample of studies.

Published February 6, 2012
Last Modified February 6, 2012

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