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How Often Does Active Learning Actually Occur? Perception versus Reality

Brandon Sheridan and Ben Smith

AEA Papers and Proceedings, 2020, vol. 110, 304-08

Abstract: Substantial evidence suggests active learning pedagogies are superior to lecturing, but little evidence exists on the prevalence of such methods. Watts and Schaur (2011) find, based on self-reported data, the median instructor lectures 83 percent of the time. We analyze audio recordings of 535 total classes from 30 different instructors to show instructors greatly underestimate how often they use passive learning pedagogies such as lecturing. Survey results show instructors estimate they lecture approximately 78.5 percent of class time; our data reveals the true average is 89 percent. This gap between perception and reality is statistically significant.

JEL-codes: D83 I23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20201053

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