By Michael T. Nietzel
Two new large-scale reports provide convincing empirical evidence that problem- or inquiry-based learning is effective and that teachers, students and parents prefer it as an instructional method – along with other active, immersive techniques.
Problem-based learning works.
Using randomized experimental trials, the gold standard in this type of research, economists Rosangela Bando, Emma Naslund-Hadley and Paul Gertler conducted ten field experiments in four countries (Argentina, Belize, Paraguay, and Peru) covering more than 17,000 students.
They randomly assigned preschool, 3rd and 4th grade classes to receive either problem-based instruction or traditional instructional methods in both math and science and then compared the standardized test scores of students after they had experienced seven months of each method.