Improved student engagement, satisfaction, and learning outcomes in a “flipped” large-lecture setting

Monday, 15 December 2014
Adam S Ward1,2, Elmer Arthur Bettis III3, Jae-eun Russell1, Samuel Van Horne1, Mary Kathryn Rocheford1, Maija Sipola1 and Mariana R Colombo1, (1)University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States, (2)Indiana University Bloomington, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Bloomington, IN, United States, (3)University of Iowa, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Iowa City, IA, United States
Large lecture courses are traditional teaching practices of most large institutions of public higher education. They have historically provided an efficient way to deliver content information to the large number of students with the least amount of faculty resources. However, research of student learning indicates that the traditional lecture format does not provide the best learning experience for students, and students learn better in the active learning environments in which students engage in meaningful learning activities rather than just listening. In this study, we compare two offerings of Introduction to Environmental Science, a large-lecture general education course, offered in two formats by the same instructors in subsequent years. In the first offering (Spring 2013) the course was offered as a traditional large-lecture course, with lecture to large audiences and a limited number of exams for assessment. In the second offering (Spring 2014), the course included small-group discussion periods, peer-review of writing assignments, guest lectures, and online learning with limited traditional lecture. Our primary objective was to quantify differences in student engagement and learning outcomes between the two course offerings. Results of our study show that the students in the transformed course indicated higher interest, engagement level, and satisfaction than the students in the traditional lecture course. Furthermore, students in the transformed course reported increased behavior, emotional, and cognitive engagement over those in the traditional course, and also increased satisfaction with the course.