Technology enabled active learning (TEAL) in introductory physics: Impact on genders and achievement levels

Ruey S. Shieh, Wheijen Chang, Eric Zhi-Feng Liu


This study explored the impact of Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) on students learning general physics, focusing on differences between genders and among various achievement levels. A quasi-experimental investigation was conducted on two semesters of courses offered in 2008. Data sources consisted of pre-tests, post-tests, self-report surveys, class observations, and interview data. The test results indicate that the learning gain achieved by the experimental group was 11% higher than that achieved by the control group in the first semester, though the margin decreased to 1% in the second semester. In the situation of the low achievement level, there was no difference found in the learning gain achieved by the two groups in the second semester. The qualitative data revealed that student academic performances were disclosed to be associated with the following factors: the instructors' teaching styles and instructional skills, the students' prior knowledge, their study habits, and the cohort atmosphere. That is, implementation of the innovative tool alone might not be sufficient to significantly improve student performance. Nonetheless, the interactive, collaborative instructional approach seemed to appeal to females more than it did to males, disclosing the potential of TEAL in narrowing the learning gap between genders.

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