To Teach Better, Learn First

AbstractThere has been little cross-fertilization between research on active learning and teaching, despite extensive conceptual similarities. The current study aims to bridge the gap by showing that engaging in active learning can influence subsequent teaching performance. In a one-dimensional boundary teaching task, participants who first took the role of an active learner went on to become better teachers than participants who did not. In order to disentangle the effect of active selection of samples from their information content, the performance of active learners was compared to that of yoked passive learners. While prior passive learning also significantly boosted teaching performance, it did so to a lesser extent. However, in paired comparisons, teachers with active learning experience did not differ significantly from their yoked-passive learning counterparts. Based on the current results we cannot argue for a teaching benefit specific to active learning as opposed to a more general improvement caused by experiencing the task from the learner's perspective. However, we suggest that this is a promising line of inquiry using more complex learning and teaching tasks.

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