Effectiveness: Non-math Classes

I used to teach college students how to be experimenters. When I taught the class the traditional way, the students were no better at the end of the class than they were at the start -- and they weren't very good. When I switched to this method -- experiential problem solving, without giving answers -- I ended up with a classroom full of good experimenters. The difference was amazing.

For many years, I used a traditional approach to teaching students what a theory was. One knowledgeable graduate student said I did an amazing job of presenting the concepts (in the short time that I had). But one year, I gave a different problem than I usually give: Construct a theory of happiness. Their theory could be right or wrong, as long as it was a theory. Happiness apparently is not a topic students spontaneously construct a theory for. 4 out of 130 students constructed a theory. My lectures were not working.

So I switched to a problem-solving format. The concept was difficult, but I would guess about 70% of the class understood what a theory was.

Ironically, we have built an educational system ideally designed for computers and poorly suited for human beings.