Does pedagogy influence gains and losses of conceptual understanding?

J. Benegas, and J. Sirur Flores


The pre-post instruction answer dynamics to the research-based, multiple-choice, single-response test DIRECT, has been used to study the effect of traditional and active learning pedagogies on gains and losses of conceptual knowledge induced by instruction. Our results suggest that, for high school students of a Latin American education system and on the subject of simple DC electric circuits, these features seem to be strongly influenced by the teaching approach.  In particular our data suggest that the active learning strategy Tutorials in Introductory Physics is clearly more efficient that traditional instruction, increasing by a factor of two the gain induced by instruction and furthermore, decreasing losses by a similar factor. It is also found that, even using this successful teaching methodology, an important fraction of students need further actions to acquire sought scientific knowledge. It is suggested that reinforcing this instruction with a few, but pedagogically coherent, active-learning activities could further improve learning outcomes, improving therefore the efficiency of instruction to boost conceptual learning, a much needed challenge for science education in most Latin American countries.


conceptual knowledge, gain and loss, electric circuits, DIRECT, Tutorials

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Revista Mexicana de Física E

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Semiannual publication of Sociedad Mexicana de Física, A.C.
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