• Tolga GokEmail author


The purpose of this study is to assess students’ conceptual learning of electricity and magnetism and examine how these conceptions, beliefs about physics, and quantitative problem-solving skills would change after peer instruction (PI). The Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM), Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS), multiple-choice test was administered as a pre- and posttest with Solomon 4 group design to students (N  =  138) enrolled on freshman level physics course. The number of chapter taught to the students was 14. Problem-solving strategy steps were asked to students in the exam. The analyses of CSEM showed that the treatment group (g  =  0.62) obtained significantly higher conceptual learning gain than the control group (g  =  0.36). The conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills of the students on magnetism considerably enhanced when PI was conducted (37% and 20%, respectively). CLASS results for 5 subscales (conceptual understanding, applied conceptual understanding, problem solving general, problem solving confidence, and problem solving sophistication) supported the findings of CSEM.


conceptual learning higher education peer instruction physics education problem solving 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abraham, M. & Cracolice, M. (1994). Doing research on college science instruction. Journal of College Science Teaching, 23, 150–153.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, W. K., Perkins, K. K., Podelefsky, N. S., Dubson, M., Finkelstein, N. D. & Wieman, C. E. (2006). New instrument for measuring student beliefs about physics and learning physics: The Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey. Physical Review ST Physical Education Research, 2, 010101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Albanese, M. A. & Mitchell, S. (1993). Problem-based learning: A review of literature on its outcomes and implementation issues. Academic Medicine, 68, 52–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L. & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and schooling. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  5. Campbell, D. T. & Stanley, J. C. (1963). Experimental and quasi experimental designs for research: A handbook for research on interactions. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  6. Cook, T. D. & Campbell, D. T. (1979). Quasi-experimentation: Design and analysis issues for field settings. Chicago, IL: Rand-McNally College.Google Scholar
  7. Cross, K. P. (1998). Why learning communities? Why now? About Campus, 3(3), 4–11.Google Scholar
  8. Crouch, C. (1998). Peer instruction: An interactive approach for large classes. Optics and Photonics News, 9(9), 37–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crouch, C. H. & Mazur, E. (2001). Peer instruction: Ten years of experience and results. American Journal of Physics, 69, 970–977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crouch, C. H., Watkins, J., Fagen, A. P. & Mazur, E. (2007). Peer instruction: Engaging students one-on-one, all at once. In E. F. Redish & P. Cooney (Eds.), Reviews in physics education research. College Park, MD: American Association of Physics Teachers.Google Scholar
  11. Elby, A. (2001). Helping physics students learn bow to learn. Physics Education Research American Journal of Physics Supplement, 69(1), 54–64.Google Scholar
  12. Gok, T. (2011). Development of problem solving strategy steps scale: Study of validation and reliability. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 20(1), 151–161.Google Scholar
  13. Hake, R. R. (1998). Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. American Journal of Physics, 66, 64–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Halloun, I. & Hestenes, D. (1985). The initial knowledge state of college physics students. American Journal of Physics, 53(11), 1043–1055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hammer, D. (1995). Epistemological considerations in teaching introductory physics. Science Education, 79(4), 393–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Heller, P. & Hollabaugh, M. (1992). Teaching problem solving through cooperative grouping. Part 2: Designing problems and structuring groups. American Journal of Physics, 60, 637–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heller, P., Keith, R. & Anderson, S. (1992). Teaching problem solving through cooperative grouping. Part 1: Group versus individual problem solving. American Journal of Physics, 60, 627–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hoekstra, A. (2008). Vibrant student voices: Exploring effects of the use of clickers in large college courses. Learning, Media, & Technology, 33(4), 329–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jonhson, D. W., Johnson, R. T. & Smith, K. A. (1991). Active learning: Cooperation in the college classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book.Google Scholar
  20. Lasry, N., Mazur, E. & Watkins, J. (2008). Peer instruction: From Harvard to the two-year college. American Journal of Physics, 76(11), 1066–1069.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Maloney, D. P., O'Kuma, T. L., Hieggelke, C. J. & Alan, V. H. (2001). Surveying students’ conceptual knowledge of electricity and magnetism. Physics Education Research, American Journal of Physics Supplement, 69, S12–S23.Google Scholar
  22. Mazur, E. (1997). Peer instruction: A user’s manual. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  23. McDermott, L. C. (1991). Millikan Lecture 1990: What we teach and what is learned-closing the gap. American Journal of Physics, 59(4), 301–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Prosser, M., Walker, P. & Millar, R. (1996). Differences in students’ perceptions of learning physics. Physics Education, 31(1), 43–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Redish, E. F., Saul, J. M. & Steinberg, R. N. (1998). Student expectations in introductory physics. American Journal of Physics, 66(3), 212–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schoenfeld, A. H. (1992). Learning to think mathematically: Problem solving, metacognition, and sense making in mathematics Handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning: A project of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (pp 334–370). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. Singh, C. (2002). Effectiveness of group interaction on conceptual standardized test performance. PER conference, Boise, ID, USA.Google Scholar
  28. Sokoloff, D. K. & Thornton, R. K. (2004). Interactive lecture demonstrations. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Torbali Technical Vocational School of Higher EducationDokuz Eylul UniversityIzmirTurkey

Personalised recommendations