A study in the May issue of Science suggests that, even in classes exceeding 250 students, interactive learning can be more effective than lecturing.
Researchers in the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver compared two undergraduate physics classes, each with about 270 students. One was taught by an experienced instructor in a lecture style, the other by a teaching assistant using small-group tasks. Students in the interactive class had an average score of 74 percent on the unit test, compared to 41 percent for the control group.
A version of this article appeared in the May 25, 2011 edition of Education Week as Instructional Style