Is Active Learning Possible Outside the Classroom?
Although the efficacy of peer instruction has been systematically documented on several occasions and in different academic contexts, this learner-centred approach has, thus far, apparently been confined to the brick-and-mortar classroom. But could students take advantage of this instructional strategy outside of class? If so, how could it be used in flipped classrooms or distance education? More generally, could peer instruction be used asynchronously? This last question motivated a team of researchers to develop an asynchronous peer-instruction platform called DALITE (for “Distributed Active Learning Interactive Technology Environment”), which they then evaluated as part of a study. Their article describes how this educational innovation works, whether DALITE promotes conceptual learning more than traditional lecture-based teaching, and if level-of-learning differences occur as compared with face-to-face peer instruction. The authors also explain the socio-cognitive and affective repercussions for students related to DALITE use, as well as the tool’s educational implications for teachers.
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