Carl Wieman, a Nobel Prize winner and Stanford physics and education professor, has been recognized for his break-through work in quantum mechanics. Now, he’s spreading a simpler message that could largely impact the future of higher education. Wieman believes too many undergraduate programs fail to focus on teaching effectiveness or even try to measure it. Wieman’s solution is simple: Systemically improve teaching through methods that have become known as active learning. He believes that an active learning approach, which requires students to spend class time on activities that require them to actively process and apply information, can significantly improve understanding and retention of the material, boost attendance and increase course satisfaction. In order to learn something, you have to actively process ideas, and without exercising the brain, you’re not really learning.
Wieman has a new book: Improving How Universities Teach Science: Lessons from the Science Education Initiative