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The Instructor's Optimal Mix of Teaching Methods


  • Ross Guest


This paper presents a model for determining the lecturer's optimal mix of teaching methods. The optimal mix balances the greater time cost of more active teaching methods against the increase in the quality of the learning outcomes that result. In the case of two students in a class, one active learner and one passive learner, the optimal teaching mix and the time that each student chooses to spend learning are jointly determined. The paper also shows that the response of the optimal teaching mix to changes in the learning technology depends on the instructor's (or the university's) utility function. A Benthemite utility function implies equal weighting for additional learning outcomes of 'academic' and 'non-academic' students. A Rawlsian utility function implies a higher weighting of additional learning outcomes of 'non-academic' students. These and other utility functions imply different optimal teaching mixes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross Guest, 2001. "The Instructor's Optimal Mix of Teaching Methods," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 313-326.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:9:y:2001:i:3:p:313-326
    DOI: 10.1080/09645290110086162

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Allgood, Sam, 2001. "Grade targets and teaching innovations," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 485-493, October.
    2. Huang, Cliff J., 1981. "Optimal allocation of faculty time under uncertainty in production," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 99-112, February.
    3. Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1995. "Choosing the optimum mix of duration and effort in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 253-263, September.
    4. Becker, William E, Jr, 1982. "The Educational Process and Student Achievement Given Uncertainty in Measurement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 229-236, March.
    5. McDonough, Carol C & Kannenberg, Lloyd C, 1977. "The Microeconomic Impact of a Reduction in Faculty Teaching Loads," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(28), pages 112-120, June.
    6. Rajshree Agarwal & A. Edward Day, 1998. "The Impact of the Internet on Economic Education," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 99-110, June.
    7. Becker, William E, Jr, 1979. "Professorial Behavior Given a Stochastic Reward Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 1010-1017, December.
    8. Bacdayan, Andrew W., 1997. "A mathematical analysis of the learning production process and a model for determining what matters in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 25-37, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Justin Ross, 2008. "A theoretical model of the distribution of teacher attention under benchmark testing," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 9(29), pages 1-8.
    2. Carmen Lamagna & Sheikh Selim, 2005. "Heterogeneous Students, Impartial Teaching and Optimal Allocation of Teaching Methods," General Economics and Teaching 0503011, EconWPA.

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