Learn by Teaching

Published by Cathryn Mattimore
on Oct 30, 2019

O’Donnell Learn is committed to discovering teaching methodologies that improve student success. We’ve found that one way to do this is by asking students to teach the very same material they’re attempting to master. By having students teach the material they’re learning, their comprehension levels dramatically improve. This idea is explained in greater length in Want Students to Remember What They Learn? Have Them Teach It by Elisabeth Stock.

In this article, the author explains and presents various findings from psychological studies that researched the efficacy of peer instruction. One finding was that, “when students actually teach the content of a lesson, they develop a deeper and longer-lasting understanding of the material than students who do not teach it.” This finding is profound because it renders a practical way that educators can utilize as a concrete means to improve student success. Similarly, the study also found that “we can deduce that learning by teaching can potentially improve C students to a B+ or even an A-.” This drastic improvement in student performance simply cannot be overlooked and suggests that peer instruction should be incorporated more frequently.

Clearly, there is value in peer instruction but how does this translate into a higher education online format? This is a question ODL is passionate about answering. Peer instruction works best in a synchronous modality, where students are paired, or put into small groups to solve a problem. So, you start with a quiz, or even just a single quiz question with no obvious right or wrong answer. Then you break your students into breakout groups–which is easily done in Zoom and other videoconferencing tools–and ask them to explain the reasons for their selected answer. Often this activity is capped by having the students retake the quiz and circling back to the instructor for clarification or additional feedback.

Another practice is to have students record themselves teaching the material and post that to an online forum. As we’ve seen, peer instruction proves highly valuable, and a video recording is a way to bring this educational methodology to a virtual/online space. We have found this practice produces similar results than if this exercise was done in person. In this exercise, students can think through the material in greater depth because they have the ability to hit pause and teach in multiple takes.

Through our experiences and research, ODL has become a strong advocate for the benefits of peer instruction. Empirical studies have shown that it one of the best ways to learn is to teach and that peer instruction often results in mastery. Moving forward, ODL intends to continue to innovate creative ways to incorporate peer instruction in our course designs.

INSIGHTS

FALL 2020: Collecting Learner Feedback and Applying the Results

Published By Brett Christie, PhD
on Oct 15, 2020

Recently, O’Donnell Learn CEO, Carrie O’Donnell and I began hosting short webinars to address critical issues higher education faculty are currently facing. Our aim is to provide concise, actionable resources to help faculty create a more successful learning experience, particularly in the context of this semester’s challenges.

Challenges in Equity and Inclusion for Online Learning: An Interview with Dr. Brett Christie

Published By Joana Jebsen
on Sep 03, 2020

At O’Donnell Learn, we’ve always believed the path to great learning includes every learner and provides alternative pathways for different learners. When higher education shifted to emergency remote learning in March, significant gaps in equity and inclusion became evident. As institutions seek to resolve these gaps for online learning, we reached out to Dr. Brett […]

Introducing Media Lab: Aligning Learning Design and Media, All Under One Roof

Published By Carrie O'Donnell
on Sep 01, 2020

We recently made an exciting announcement – the launch of Media Lab! Media Lab was conceived out of a desire to disrupt the current media development model and offer best-in-class learning experiences at any scale. By bringing learning design and learning media production under one roof, our Media Lab is poised to help drive this […]