A major Review of Educational Research meta-analysis reaffirms the superiority of direct instruction

It seems fashionable for educational pundits to put down direct instruction in favor of approaches described as based on the principles of constructivism (typically project based learning, problem based learning, inquiry approaches, discovery). Those objecting to direct instruction do so in contradiction to the massive amount of research suggesting otherwise. The Review of Educational Research, the preeminent source for summaries of educational research, just published a review of research from the past 50 years again demonstrating the greater effectiveness of direct instruction. This publication has yet to appear in your local college library, but is available online (the service is called onlinefirst). I assume affiliation with a library offering access to journals online is necessary for access.

According to the review, direction instruction in contrast to other philosophical models of instruction involves:

the theory underlying DI lies in opposition to developmental approaches, constructivism, and theories of learning styles, which assume that students’ ability to learn depends on their developmental stage, their ability to construct or derive understandings, or their own unique approach to learning. Instead, DI assumes all students can learn new material when (a) they have mastered prerequisite knowledge and skills and (b) the instruction is unambiguous.

The publication will eventually appear as:

Stockard, J., Wood. T.W., Coughlin, C. & Khoury, C.R. (2018). The effectiveness of direct instruction curricula: A meta-analysis of a half century of research. Review of Educational Research.

Stockard has a related paper available online.

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