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Does active learning improve student performance? A randomized experiment in a Chilean university

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  • Alcalde, Pilar
  • Nagel, Juan

Abstract

We study the causal effect of an active learning teaching method on grades. We designed a randomized experiment with students at an undergraduate business and economics program in Chile. Two groups were taught by the same professor: the control group used traditional lectures, while the treatment group used an active learning method. Treated students failed the class less but the effect was not significant. They also had significantly better grades at the end and during the semester. The treatment effect was larger for males and students with high application scores. The effect does not appear instantaneously, and appears to fade away at the end of the semester. Results suggest students allocate effort differently across both groups, and this interacts with the treatment effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Alcalde, Pilar & Nagel, Juan, 2015. "Does active learning improve student performance? A randomized experiment in a Chilean university," MPRA Paper 68994, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:68994
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/68994/1/MPRA_paper_68994.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Theodore J. Joyce & Sean Crockett & David A. Jaeger & Onur Altindag & Stephen D. O'Connell, 2014. "Does Classroom Time Matter? A Randomized Field Experiment of Hybrid and Traditional Lecture Formats in Economics," NBER Working Papers 20006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Byron W. Brown & Carl E. Liedholm, 2002. "Can Web Courses Replace the Classroom in Principles of Microeconomics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 444-448, May.
    3. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2009. "Teaching Economic Principles Interactively: A Cannibal's Dinner Party," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 366-384, October.
    4. Olitsky, Neal H. & Cosgrove, Sarah B., 2014. "The effect of blended courses on student learning: Evidence from introductory economics courses," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 17-31.
    5. Michael K. Salemi, 2009. "Clickenomics: Using a Classroom Response System to Increase Student Engagement in a Large-Enrollment Principles of Economics Course," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 385-404, October.
    6. Keith Brouhle, 2011. "Exploring Strategic Behavior in an Oligopoly Market Using Classroom Clickers," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 395-404, October.
    7. Roach, Travis, 2014. "Student perceptions toward flipped learning: New methods to increase interaction and active learning in economics," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 74-84.
    8. Linda K. Carter & Tisha L. N. Emerson, 2012. "In-Class vs. Online Experiments: Is There a Difference?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 4-18, January.
    9. Green, Alan, 2014. "The case for the traditional classroom," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 16(PB), pages 87-99.
    10. Sucharita Ghosh & Francesco Renna, 2009. "Using Electronic Response Systems in Economics Classes," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 354-365, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Classroom experiments; course performance; peer instruction; innovation in teaching;

    JEL classification:

    • A20 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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