Effects of teaching methods on student engagement and academic success

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the selection of teaching methods significantly influences student engagement and academic achievement. As educators strive to create dynamic and effective learning environments, understanding the effects of various teaching approaches becomes paramount

Teacher in front a class pointing to the boa
Photo credit: Max Fischer

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the selection of teaching methods significantly influences student engagement and academic achievement. As educators strive to create dynamic and effective learning environments, understanding the effects of various teaching approaches becomes paramount. This comprehensive article delves into five teaching methods and how each method impacts student engagement and academic performance.

💡 Lessons learnt: The method of delivery drives its assimilation


The Lecture Method, a traditional and prevalent teaching approach, involves instructors disseminating information through one-sided presentations, relying heavily on verbal communication without much active student involvement. While lectures can efficiently deliver content to a large audience, research suggests limitations in promoting meaningful student engagement and academic success (Freeman et al., 2014). Passive listening during prolonged lectures may reduce content retention, limited critical thinking, and disinterest among students (Burns, 2015). However, lectures can be effectively complemented with interactive elements, such as brief discussions, demonstrations, or multimedia aids, to enhance student engagement and foster better learning outcomes (Chi et al., 2018).

Discussion and Dialogue

The Discussion and Dialogue Teaching Method encourages active student participation and promotes collaborative learning by creating a classroom environment that facilitates open communication, critical thinking, and idea exchange. This method fosters deeper understanding and problem-solving skills among students (Fredericksen et al., 1992). Engaging in discussions allows students to construct meaning, share diverse perspectives, and build on each other's ideas (Ginsburg-Block et al., 2006). This interactive approach enhances student motivation, encourages active listening, and cultivates essential communication skills (Fassinger, 2008). Research shows that students who engage in discussions are more likely to achieve higher academic success and develop a deeper appreciation for the subject matter (Hattie, 2009).

Problem-Based Teaching

The Problem-Based Teaching Method centres on authentic and real-world problem-solving experiences. By presenting students with complex challenges, this approach encourages active inquiry, critical thinking, and application of knowledge (Hmelo-Silver, 2004). Engaging in problem-based learning encourages students to take ownership of their learning journey, promoting intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning (Savery, 2006). This method also strengthens students' abilities to transfer knowledge and skills to new situations, leading to enhanced academic performance (Strobel & van Barneveld, 2009). Through hands-on and contextual learning experiences, students develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter and demonstrate higher levels of engagement and achievement (Savery, 2006).

Peer Instruction

Peer Instruction is an interactive teaching method that encourages active learning through student-peer interactions. Introduced by Eric Mazur in the 1990s, this approach involves instructors posing challenging questions to the class, followed by student discussion and peer instruction (Crouch & Mazur, 2001). This method promotes peer-to-peer explanation, collaboration, and collective problem-solving (Crouch & Mazur, 2001). Through engagement in peer discussions, students gain deeper insights into concepts, correct misconceptions, and develop metacognitive skills (Lasry et al., 2008). Peer Instruction has been found to significantly improve student understanding, retention, and academic performance (Crouch & Mazur, 2001).


E-Learning, or electronic learning, encompasses a wide range of digital platforms and technologies that facilitate learning outside the traditional classroom setting. Through online courses, interactive modules, multimedia resources, and virtual classrooms, this teaching method offers flexible and personalized learning experiences (Bartley & Golek, 2004). E-Learning enhances student engagement through multimedia presentations, interactive quizzes, and immediate feedback, catering to diverse learning preferences (Mayer, 2001). Research indicates that well-designed e-learning experiences can lead to improved student performance and achievement (Means et al., 2013). However, effective implementation relies on factors such as access to technology, and instructor support (Means et al., 2013).

In the pursuit of educational excellence, the selection of teaching methods significantly impacts student engagement and academic success. While the Lecture Method remains a prevalent approach, it may benefit from interactive elements to enhance student engagement. Discussion and Dialogue Teaching encourages active communication and idea exchange, fostering a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Problem-Based Teaching facilitates authentic learning experiences, promoting critical thinking and self-directed learning. Peer Instruction leverages peer-to-peer interactions for enhanced understanding and retention. E-Learning offers flexible and personalized learning experiences to cater for each student's need. It requires consideration of educator's support to keep track of learner discipline and technological accessibility.


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