My Inc.com article, “Science: College Can Decrease Your Understanding of It. A Harvard Physicist Is Undoing the Damage,” begins
Science: College Can Decrease Your Understanding of It. A Harvard Physicist Is Undoing the Damage
Studies show that traditional lectures tend to lower students’ understanding of physics. Harvard professor Eric Mazur developed techniques that work, and innovators can learn from them.
If we want to improve our world, we need to know science–not just to solve problems, but to understand the underlying patterns of nature. Many of humanity’s greatest advances came from physics: radio, transistors, lasers, the world wide web, leaving Earth, and so on.
Science and physics will be essential in solving our future challenges: global warming, fusion, alternative energy, and so on. Society, innovation, and entrepreneurship depend, not completely, but a lot, on science.
(I may be biased, as I have a PhD in physics, though I’ve found my training applies to my subsequent practices of entrepreneurship and leadership.)
Problems at the root
Given the importance of physics and science, would it surprise you to learn that studies have shown that traditional introductory college classes can decrease students’ conceptual understanding of the subject?
A 1998 University of Maryland study on “student attitudes and beliefs about university physics and how those attitudes and beliefs change as a result of physics instruction” found
At every school we studied, the overall results deteriorated as the result of one semester of instruction
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