Saturday, December 19, 2009

Peer instruction in an online setting: evaluation results?

Some blog followers may be interested in a recent discussion-list post of the above title [Hake (2009)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Bill Harris, in an EvalTalk post, wrote:

“I've used [peer instruction] in my [face-to-face] teaching of system dynamics, and I. . . [like others]. . . . have found more favorable results. . . . . I'll [probably] be teaching a graduate course in Systems Dynamics this year in an online space. The mix between asynchronous and synchronous modalities is still to be decided; I like asynchronous, but I recognize certain benefits of synchronous work, too.. . . . One of the things I'd like to do is to incorporate peer instruction in that course, as well. . . . . Do any of you have links to evaluations done in trying to adapt peer instruction to online teaching? Do you have links to other descriptions of that approach that don't necessarily qualify as evaluations?”

Harris is evidently referring to Mazur's “Peer Instruction” (PI) and not the generic “peer instruction” (pi) that (a) characterizes most “Interactive Engagement” methods, and (b) might be more amenable to online implementation than PI. Although I'm not aware of online examples of PI, two possibly helpful references to such implementation are “A systems approach to e-learning” [Davis (2009)] and “Practical Considerations in Online Learning” [Reis (2009)]. In addition, Rick Parkanay, in his EvalTalk responses to Harris stated that (a) he had used PI-type instruction in some of his online courses, and (b) gave seven links relevant such instruction.

But with one possible exception, none of Parkanay's seven links explicitly discusses rigorous pre-to-posttest gain evaluation of either PI or pi as adapted to online instruction, even though face-to-face PI has been so evaluated by the Mazur group , and face-to-face pi has been so evaluated by Hake (1998a,b) and many others.

As indicated in "Can Distance and Classroom Learning Be Increased?" : "Instead of measuring pre-to-post test gains so as to definitively gauge student learning in a course, distance and classroom education researchers. . . . .generally utilize low-resolution measures of students learning, such as student evaluations of teaching, student self-assessments, and teacher-made tests and course grades."

To access the complete 19 kB post please click on


Hake, R.R. 2009. “Re: Peer instruction in an online setting: evaluation results?” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at . Post of 30 Sep 2009 17:24:08-0700 to AERA-L, EvalTalk, Net-Gold, and PhysLrnR.

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