Sunday, October 24, 2010

Educational Research: Fresh Air or Phlogiston? #3

Some blog followers might be interested in a discussion-list post "Educational Research: Fresh Air or Phlogiston? #3" [Hake (2010)]. The abstract reads:


ABSTRACT: In "Coming Up for Air: But Is It Oxygen or Phlogiston? A Response to Taber's Review of 'Constructivist Instruction: Success Or Failure?' " , David Klahr extols the lucidity of Keith Taber's review “Constructivism and Direct Instruction as Competing Instructional Paradigms: An Essay Review of Tobias & Duffy (2009)”, but then makes four claims that diverge from the tenor of Taber's review, the first three of which are:

(1) "When Theories Compete, There Is Ultimately A Winner,"

(2) "Operational Definitions Are Crucial," and

(3) "Multi-Attribute Comparisons Are Possible."

In my view, taking the above claims in order:

(1') In areas that are conceptually difficult (e.g., Newtonian mechanics) the winner is "Interactive Engagement" ("IE" - "constructivist"-like) over "Traditional" ("T" - "instructionist"-like) pedagogy - both "IE" and "T" as *operationally defined* in Hake (1998, ),

(2')"Education Research Employing Operational Definitions Can Enhance The Teaching Art" [Hake (2010), ], and

(3') Convincing multi-attribute comparisons have shown an approximately two-standard deviation superiority in average normalized gains g(ave) for "IE" over "T" courses.


To access the complete post please click on .

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University

Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands

President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the

Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)

“Physics educators have led the way in developing and using objective tests to compare student learning gains in different types of courses, and chemists, biologists, and others are now developing similar instruments. These tests provide convincing evidence that students assimilate new knowledge more effectively in courses including active, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, assisted by information technology, than in traditional courses.”

- Wood & Gentile (2003)

REFERENCES [All URL's accessed on 24 October 2010; URL's shortened by .]

Hake, R.R. 2010. "Educational Research: Fresh Air or Phlogiston? #3" online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at . Post of 26 Oct 2010 12:10:04 -0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. An earlier less complete version "Educational Research: Fresh Air or Phlogiston? #2" was transmitted to Net-Gold on 24 October 2010 and the abstract and link to the earlier Net-Gold post were transmitted to various discussion lists.

Wood, W.B. & J.M. Gentile. 2003. “Teaching in a research context,” Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online to subscribers at . A summary is online to all at .

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