Evidence-based teaching

Evidence-based teaching is about using research evidence to inform decisions about the best pedagogical approach to apply in a given domain. These decisions may relate to which teaching strategy to adopt to be able to teach a specific topic, capturing the progress students make over time, or assessing the effectiveness of one’s teaching. The idea originates from medicine, where practitioners often make use of evidence from research and experimental studies which they combine with information about their patients to make decisions about managing their health. Evidence-based teaching examines evidence from research to determine whether there are proven benefits from a given pedagogical approach, or the conditions under which an approach will work. For example, robust evidence now exists that supports the provision of good quality feedback, the development of skills that can help students understand how they learn, and giving homework to students. Several national and university-based centres design and implement studies that examine in a systematic manner which pedagogical techniques are beneficial, how different approaches to teaching are perceived by students and what their impact may be on what is learnt. Evidence-based teaching can support teachers in identifying and applying best teaching practices, debunking harmful myths about teaching and improving current teaching and learning. A good strategy is for researchers to work closely with teachers to reflect on their needs, design studies and produce evidence together.

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