A comparison of student achievement across pedagogical modalities
active learning, passive learning, academic performance
Recent research provides evidence that students’ active participation in course activities creates stronger connections and enables deeper levels of information processing and learning compared to passive teaching and learning methods (Nurbavliyev et al., 2022). The present study investigated the relationship between active and passive learning across different pedagogical modalities and its effect on academic performance. We hypothesized that students in the active learning group would perform better academically than students in the passive learning group. Participants were students enrolled in hybrid or in-person PSYC 105 courses at MacEwan University. Our sample size for our analyses related to academic performance included 24 participants, 14 from the active group and 10 from the passive group. Our sample size for our correlational analyses included 97 participants. Throughout the semester, participants in the active condition completed activities and participants in the passive condition heard a lecture. Academic performance was measured based on participants’ performance on eight standardized multiple-choice questions embedded into each class's midterm and final exams, and overall midterm and final exam grades. We also investigated if certain student characteristics moderate the effect of activities on retention. Participants filled out questionnaire items assessing personality, self-regulation, procrastination, and test anxiety. Our results showed that students in the active learning condition performed better than those in the passive learning condition. We also found a moderately positive relationship between procrastination and test anxiety, and neuroticism and test anxiety. These results illustrate the potential benefits of universities offering more opportunities for active learning on students’ academic performance.
Presented on April 20, 2023 at Student Research Day held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.
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