Peer instruction

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About this article

This article includes an overview of Dr. Eric Mazur's Peer Instruction method for engaging students in class. It also includes links to related articles and information. It is intended for the entire campus community.

What's Peer Instruction?

In his book, Peer Instruction: A User's Manual (1996), Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University, Dr. Eric Mazur, defined a set of teaching methods for engaging students during class time. Organizing student discussion and collaborative problem-solving around a series of key questions or ConcepTests, Dr. Mazur and his team have gathered data to suggest that this type of peer-to-peer interaction during class results in better learning outcomes than passive information delivery alone, regardless of the skill of the lecturer. Dr. Mazur and other members of his team have gone on conduct more research and develop their own classroom student engagement system called Learning Catalytics that runs on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Peer Instruction can be adopted in any course of any size and does not depend on technology to be successful. Peer Instruction relates to the current focus in higher education on flipped teaching in that it is one of many student engagement techniques that instructors can apply in courses where classroom lecture and content delivery have been replaced by more active and experiential learning activities.

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