Physics Alive

The Wins and Challenges of Active Learning with Louis Deslauriers

September 10, 2021

Louis Deslauriers, the Director of Science Teaching and Learning and Senior Preceptor in Physics at Harvard University, discusses what he’s learned the last decade about the successes and challenges of research-based instructional strategies for both students and faculty.


Full episodes notes at:


Articles mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 of this interview:


  • If students learn [how to solve the Schrodinger equation] as a set of procedures, then they might as well be a set of phone numbers. The research from cognitive psychology is very clear: factual information gets lost within a few weeks; it’s gone. But students that code information conceptually...that is a lot more robust over time.

  • We know that researched based instructional strategies work. How do we keep it up? What are the key supports to ongoing implementation? The number one thing is proper faculty training. And the next is a supportive departmental environment.
  • Give students time and space to think. If you do that, learning will improve.

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