Professor Simon Lancaster, Professor of Chemistry Education, School of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia,encourages universities to delve deeper into peer instruction as a pedagogy for active learning, ahead of the Turning Technologies User Conference 2018.


What is the latest thinking surrounding peer instruction as a pedagogy for active learning?

Peer instruction is well established as an effective and practical active learning pedagogy. However, there is much that we still wish to understand to optimise the practice. How does it work? What cognitive processes are taking place amongst the students? How does the student-instructor dialogue fit into existing models of learning discourse?

At TTUC, conference speakers will be exploring how peer instruction enhances student confidence and the role that plays in learning. While I will be describing how we can overcome some of the bottlenecks frustrating adoption of true peer instruction.


What knowledge must we attain to support peer instruction?

Generally associated with Ausubel, it essential that we know the prior knowledge of our students. This is essential for the effective framing of a peer instruction question. However, even then, we the educators, can still be unaware of misconceptions our students harbour. This will be the focus of my workshop – how the TurningPoint tools can surface those misconceptions so that peer instruction can address them.


How is TurningPoint helping to facilitate this?

New tools within TurningPoint mean that we can now do so much more than simply pose multiple choice questions. Free text input allows us to source student misconceptions.


Why should TTUC delegates attend your speaking session and what is the top learning take-away?

Delegates attending my session will gain the benefit of my 10-years of experimenting and occasionally failing, so that they can implement the most effective scalable and pragmatic solution, getting the most out of the TurningPoint solution in a fraction of the time. The top learning take-away is that we can work with our students to focus our teaching where it will be the most beneficial.


What do you think is the most important e-learning trend for the next 12 months?

I foresee ever closer integration of the online and face-to-face student experience. Flipping (to prepare for active learning) will explore prior knowledge and become more tailored to the needs of the individual. Analytical tools will mine online and in-class digital responses and behaviours to create a better picture of where students struggle and require most help.

The Turning Technologies User Conference takes place on 7thNovember 2018 at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Casa Convalescència, Spain. View the full agenda here.