Resource Letter ALIP-1: Active-Learning Instruction in Physics

David Meltzer, Ronald K. Thornton

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

102 Scopus citations

Abstract

This Resource Letter provides a guide to the literature on research-based active-learning instruction in physics. These are instructional methods that are based on, assessed by, and validated through research on the teaching and learning of physics. They involve students in their own learning more deeply and more intensely than does traditional instruction, particularly during class time. The instructional methods and supporting body of research reviewed here offer potential for significantly improved learning in comparison to traditional lecture-based methods of college and university physics instruction. We begin with an introduction to the history of active learning in physics in the United States, and then discuss some methods for and outcomes of assessing pedagogical effectiveness. We enumerate and describe common characteristics of successful active-learning instructional strategies in physics. We then discuss a range of methods for introducing active-learning instruction in physics and provide references to those methods for which there is published documentation of student learning gains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-496
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Volume80
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 17 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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