Saturday, May 17, 2014

Active Learning Increases Student Performance in STEM

Some blog followers might be interested in an article "Active Learning Increases Student Performance in STEM" [Hake (2014)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In a recent widely acclaimed report “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics,” Freeman et al. (2014) at wrote (my CAPS):

“To test the hypothesis that lecturing maximizes learning and course performance, we metaanalyzed 225 studies that reported data on examination scores or failure rates when comparing student performance in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses under TRADITIONAL LECTURING versus ACTIVE LEARNING. The effect sizes indicate that on average, student performance on examinations and concept inventories increased by 0.47 SDs under active learning (n = 158 studies). . . . . . students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning. . . . . . This is the largest and most comprehensive metaanalysis of undergraduate STEM education published to date. 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."

That the results of the meta-analysis of Freeman et al. (2014) “support active learning as the preferred practice in regular classrooms” is consistent with e.g.: (a) meta-analyses by Springer et al. (1999), Hake (1998a), Minner et al. (2010), and Ruiz-Primo et al. (2011); and (b) literature reviews by Handelsman et al. (2004), Prince (2004), Froyd (2007), and NRC (2013)


To access the complete 66 kB 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); LINKS TO: Academia; Articles; Blog; Facebook; GooglePlus; Google Scholar; Linked In; Research Gate; Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs; Twitter

“Physicists are out in front in measuring how well students learn the basics, as science educators incorporate hands-on activities in hopes of making the introductory course a beginning rather than a finale.” – Erik Stockstad (2001) in “Science” at

“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.” - William Wood & James Gentile (2003) in “Science” at

REFERENCES [URL shortened by and accessed on 17 May 2014.]
Hake, R.R. 2014. “Active Learning Increases Student Performance in STEM,” post of 16 May 2014 14:36:07-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. Online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

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