Date of this Version
CBE Life Sci Educ, March 2, 2015, 14:es3. DOI:10.1187/cbe.14-11-0198.
Current instructional reforms in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses have focused on enhancing adoption of evidence-based instructional practices among STEM faculty members. These practices have been empirically demonstrated to enhance student learning and attitudes. However, research indicates that instructors often adapt rather than adopt practices, unknowingly compromising their effectiveness. Thus, there is a need to raise awareness of the research-based implementation of these practices, develop fidelity of implementation protocols to understand adaptations being made, and ultimately characterize the true impact of reform efforts based on these practices. Peer instruction (PI) is an example of an evidence-based instructional practice that consists of asking students conceptual questions during class time and collecting their answers via clickers or response cards. Extensive research has been conducted by physics and biology education researchers to evaluate the effectiveness of this practice and to better understand the intricacies of its implementation. PI has also been investigated in other disciplines, such as chemistry and computer science. This article reviews and summarizes these various bodies of research and provides instructors and researchers with a research-based model for the effective implementation of PI. Limitations of current studies and recommendations for future empirical inquiries are also provided.