Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 279–294 | Cite as

Active Learning Techniques Versus Traditional Teaching Styles: Two Experiments from History and Political Science

  • J. Patrick McCarthy
  • Liam Anderson


Group role-playing and collaborative exercises are exciting ways to diversify college students' classroom experience and to incorporate active learning into your teaching. This article reports the results of two experiments that compared the effectiveness of role-playing and collaborative activities to teacher-centered discussions and lectures. Using both history and political science classes, we show that the students who participated in the role-plays and collaborative exercises did better on subsequent standard evaluations than their traditionally instructed peers. Presented here is a discussion of active learning, descriptions of the two experiments, and an explanation of the outcomes and implications of the study.


College Student Social Psychology Active Learning Political Science Standard Evaluation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Patrick McCarthy
  • Liam Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Wright State UniversityU.S.A

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