Economic Alternative to Lecture-Based Education Term Paper

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Research Questions:

Unfortunately, as promising as the potential benefits of incorporating brain-based, active learning, inquiry-based, hands-on participation, and multiple intelligence-based methods of academic instruction is, comprehensive programs of this nature are largely unavailable on a wide scale, owing to budgetary considerations. However, since virtually every tested addition of multidimensional instruction has been associated with beneficial results (Schroeder & Spannagel 2006), intuition would suggest that the addition of instruction via educational programming is also likely to be conducive to improvement over traditional lecture and textbook-only methods of instruction.

Obviously, if given the choice between non-academic programming and educational programming, most middle and secondary school students would prefer the former. On the other hand, where methods of instruction depart from the traditional limitation to lecture and textbooks only (Bimonte 2005), even voluntary class attendance increases. Nevertheless, contemporary education programs generally neglect the potentially valuable medium of televised instruction except in connection with isolated use for non-academic subjects such as driver's education.

This is unfortunate, given the high degree of likelihood that presenting American History lessons in the form of a VHS Civil War series, for just one example, would promote both active interest in class and better subject matter retention than presenting the same material exclusively in the traditional manner. Furthermore, the demonstrated recent popularity of mainstream movie productions such as Saving Private Ryan (1998) and televised series such as HBO's Band of Brothers (2000), among others, strongly suggests the value of using this medium to present some of the same lessons in world history that so often fail to garner any interest among students at all when communicated exclusively through dry lectures and textbook reading assignments. In fact, it is quite conceivable that the former would even increase potential interest in the latter, provided the material were first introduced through the medium proposed for research in this project.

Therefore, the specific questions proposed for examination include:

1. To what degree does presentation of subject matter in televised format improve comprehension and retention compared to the traditional lecture and textbook- only method of instruction?

2. Does the tested method benefit all students equally?

3. To the extent the tested method does not benefit all students equally, what is the relationship between previous academic performance (i.e., and traditional methods of instruction) and any measurable benefit?

4. To the extent the tested method does not benefit all students equally, what is the relationship between expressed student preference (in advance) and measurable benefit?

5. What is the optimal combination (in relative proportion) of traditional lecture and textbook method of instruction and non-traditional method of instruction in the form tested?

Abridged Methodology:

The methodology for testing the five hypotheses would include the following specific experiments, corresponding to the research questions: 1. To determine whether, and to what degree televised presentation of subject matter increases comprehension and retention, this study proposes (1) to assign the same material to different groups of students, wherein some groups receive only traditional lecture and textbook instruction while other groups receive televised versions of the same substantive lessons, and (2) to assign similar assignment on different (comparable) topics to students in both formats.

Measurement would consist of respective performance on identical objective tests of the traditional test format appropriate to the level and the material.

2. To determine whether the proposed method of instruction benefits all students equally, this study proposes to assemble a test group consisting of students selected to ensure the inclusion of both high achieving and low achieving students based on their previous academic performance in the tested subjects.

3. To determine the extent of any relationship between previous academic performance and the degree of benefit attributed to the proposed method of instruction, this study proposes to measure those variables in precise relation to each other using the results of the individual test trials.

4. To determine the relationship between student preference (as expressed in advance on specific inquiry) and the degree of benefit attributed to the proposed method of instruction, this study proposes to measure compare the relative degree of benefit among students who expressed little or no interest in the proposed medium of instruction with that of students who expressed a strong preference for instruction via this non-traditional method of instruction.

5. To determine the optimal combination (in relative proportion) of traditional lecture and textbook method of instruction and non-traditional method of instruction in the format tested, this study proposes to compare various combinations of the traditional lecture and textbook method and this particular non-traditional methods of academic instruction as measured in relative performance on objective tests after varied combinations of the respective methods of instruction..


It is anticipated that all questions proposed in connection with this project are capable of being tested and analyzed well within the scope of the doctoral program. Each individual inquiry involves a single series substantive academic lessons fully capable of being conducted simultaneously. Furthermore, the inquiries proposed in this study allow for considerable flexibility and experimental design to accommodate any time constraints. Ideally, one academic year should allow for a comprehensive analysis of multiple trials incorporating every experimental element proposed for study.


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Bickman, M. (2003). Minding American education: Reclaiming the tradition of active learning. New York City: Teachers College Press.

Bimonte, R. (2005, November/December). If your class were optional, would anyone attend. Momentum, 36(4), 6.

Byerly, S. (2001). Linking classroom teaching to the real world through experiential instruction. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(9), 697.

Cookson, P. (2005). The enriched classroom. Education Module, 35(4), 10.

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Gerrig, R, Zimbardo, P. (2005) Psychology and Life. 17th Edition.

New York: Allyn & Bacon.

Glanz, J. (2003). Action research: An educational leader's guide to school improvement (2nd ed.). Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.

Huber, R.A., & Moore, C.J. (2001). A model for extending hands-on science to be inquiry based. School Science and Mathematics, 101(1), 32. Retrieved May1, 2008, from Questia database: 5002389804

Lowery, L.F. (1994). Inquiry: The emphasis of a bold, new science curriculum the Journal (Technological Horizons in Education), 21(8), 50+. Retrieved May 1, 2008, from Questia database:

Nabors, M.L. (1999). "Principals" for hands-on science. Education, 119(4), 744. Retrieved May 1, 2008, from Questia database:


Norman, K., & Combs-Richardson, R. (2001). Emotional intelligence and social skills: Necessary components of hands-on learning in science classes. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 13(2), 1+. Retrieved May 1, 2008, from Questia database:

Poole, D., Warren, a., Nunez, N. (2007) the Story of Human Development. Princeton, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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