Published June 22, 2021

IU researchers introduce ambitious new model for large-scale research on student learning

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In a first-of-its-kind study, Indiana University researchers have created a new model for studying how particular teaching practices work in the classroom. The study not only answered questions about optimal timing for feedback on student assignments but expands the boundaries and methods of current research on educational practice.

In 2019-20, Ben Motz and Emily Fyfe carried out the first ManyClasses experiment to explore the question of optimal timing for feedback on student assignments. ManyClasses is a massive-scale approach that can ultimately inform more precise recommendations for what works — not just in an abstract “classroom,” but in a wide range of actual classrooms across a broad and varied educational landscape.

“ManyClasses is an educational experiment embedded in dozens of classrooms, spanning student populations, institutions, disciplines and course formats,” said Motz, a research scientist in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “By emphasizing diversity across independent samples, the results of a ManyClasses study will help researchers and teachers infer whether a research finding can reliably generalize.”

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