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Active Learning Approaches Reduce Failure Rates in Undergraduate Engineering Courses

Posted on: 06/02/2014
According to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a significantly greater number of undergraduate students fail science, engineering, and math courses that are taught lecture-style than fail in classes incorporating so-called active learning that expects them to participate in discussions and problem-solving beyond what they've memorized.

Active learning also improves exam performance—in some cases enough to change grades by half a letter grade or more.

Examples of active learning include emphasizing class discussion and interaction based on homework reading—Knowing they could get called on at any time encourages students to stay focused. Having students use clickers—hand-held wireless devices—to answer multiple-choice questions in class is another example of how active learning keeps students engaged.

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