3 january 2012

Peer instruction

It's not enough to be good at public or class speaking: it's important to make sure the audience not just memorises but actually learns something, however excellent the feedback to lectures can be. And for that real learning to happen, students need to be active in developing their knowledge.

One suggested way to do this is to get them to do the assigned reading before the class. In class, they are then arranged in small groups to discuss a question: possible answers to the question are projected on a screen, with groups expected to gradually find the right answer.

Data proves that "peer instruction" does indeed work better. This reminds me of the some of the insights from Khan Academy on the concepts of pre-class reading / information gathering and in-class exercises / meaning extraction with the professor acting as a coach, guide and tutor.

The additional interesting aspect of this approach is that the size of the class almost becomes irrelevant.

What do you think? What other education / learning methods work best according to you?