Physics Education Research and the Development of Active Learning Strategies in Introductory Physics

Sokoloff D. R., Yüksel T.

in: The International Handbook of Physics Education Research: Learning Physics, Mehmet Fatih Taşar,Paula R. L. Heron, Editor, AIP (American Institute of Physics) Press , New York, pp.1-26, 2023

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Publisher: AIP (American Institute of Physics) Press
  • City: New York
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-26
  • Editors: Mehmet Fatih Taşar,Paula R. L. Heron, Editor
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


This chapter will first examine the origins of active learning strategies (aka, interactive engagement) that have revolutionized the teaching of physics and their parallel development with the emerging field of discipline-based physics education research. The development and broad implementation of active learning at the introductory college/university level beginning in the 1980s has gone hand in hand with the development of research methodologies for assessment that measured the scope of the pedagogical problems and enabled research-validation of these methods. This began with advances in student demonstration interview protocols and the design of multiple-choice conceptual evaluations and continues today with the refinement and expansion of these assessment tools. The effectiveness of active learning depends on strategies to engage students in the learning process. While active learning originated with students’ guided, unaided observations of the physical world, it has been enhanced by the development of technological tools to enhance direct observation, to assist with analysis of videos, to enable mathematical modeling, and to simulate phenomena that are not easily observable in the laboratory. This chapter will describe highly prominent active learning strategies and curricula employing them and examine the research that led to their development and validation.