Speaking at the 2011 Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference, organized by educational technology thought leader Alan November and his ed-tech consulting firm November Learning, Harvard University physics professor Eric Mazur asked participants to think of a skill they were good at, then explain how they mastered this skill.
While the responses from the crowd varied—some cited practice or experience, while others said trial and error—no one answered “lecture,” Mazur noted wryly.
Educators need to transfer information, he said, but students also need to do something with this information to make it stick—not simply parrot it back during a test, but actually assimilate it and take ownership of it, so they can apply this knowledge in a different context. If students can’t do that, he said, then they haven’t really learned anything.
This is a horn I’ve been tooting for years, and I find it especially exciting that this professor is in a STEM discipline using student-centered, active learning strategies to “flip” the traditional model of instruction in order to enable his students to learn more deeply.
To learn more about Dr. Mazur’s teaching strategy, including his own clicker-like presonal response system, click here.