Active Learning Classroom Effectiveness Compared to Traditional Lecture


  • Branislav Djordjevic Physics & Astronomy
  • Maria Dworzecka Physics & Astronomy
  • Jason Kinser Physics & Astronomy





Beginning with the fall 2013 semester, George Mason University began teaching first-semester (PHYS 160) and second-semester (PHYS 260) calculus-based physics courses in an ALT (active learning with technology) environment simultaneously with traditional lectures. Previous results of students' performance comparisons consistently showed that ALT courses were more effective means for students' learning than traditional lecturing. Average final grades as well as the average exam grades in ALT courses regularly surpassed grades in traditional courses by 10-15%. We also cross-compared performance of our students in the PHYS 260 course in all four combinations of students coming from traditional PHYS 160 and cross-compared the ALT course to either style of the PHYS 260 courses. We did our analysis for all available pairs of consecutive semesterss starting from fall 2013 and ending with spring 2015. Results from this analysis clearly indicate that students' performance is greatly improved through the ALT experience.