Transforming the lecture-hall environment: The fully interactive physics lecture

David E. Meltzer, Kandiah Manivannan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Numerous reports suggest that learning gains in introductory university physics courses may be increased by "active-learning" instructional methods. These methods engender greater mental engagement and more extensive student-student and student-instructor interaction than does a typical lecture class. It is particularly challenging to transfer these methodologies to the large-enrollment lecture hall. We report on seven years of development and testing of a variant of Peer Instruction as pioneered by Mazur that aims at achieving virtually continuous instructor- student interaction through a "fully interactive" physics lecture. This method is most clearly distinguished by instructor-student dialogues that closely resemble one-on-one instruction. We present and analyze a detailed example of such classroom dialogues, and describe the format, procedures, and curricular materials required for creating the desired lecture-room environment. We also discuss a variety of assessment data that indicate strong gains in student learning, consistent with other researchers. We conclude that interactive-lecture methods in physics instruction are practical, effective, and amenable to widespread implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-654
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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