Physics Alive

Physics Alive is the podcast where host, Brad Moser, Ph.D., sparks new life into the physics classroom. Each episode supports and shares the many forward-thinking developments that have come from physics education research and inspiring educators. Brad speaks with teachers who employ innovative and active learning styles, researchers on the frontiers of physics education, catalysts for change on important social issues in the STEM community, and students who want the most out of their education.


episode 28: The Wins and Challenges of Active Learning with Louis Deslauriers

Louis Deslauriers, the Director of Science Teaching and Learning and Senior Preceptor in Physics at Harvard University, discusses what he’s learned the last decade about the successes and challenges of research-based instructional strategies for both students and faculty.


Full episodes notes at:


Articles mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 of this interview:

  • Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class
  • Learning and retention of quantum concepts with different teaching methods
  • Use of research-based instruction strategies: How to avoid faculty quitting
  • Measuring actual learning versus feel of learning in response to being actively engaged in the classroom
  • Increasing the effectiveness of active learning using deliberate practice: A homework transformation


  • If students learn [how to solve the Schrodinger equation] as a set of procedures, then they might as well be a set of phone numbers. The research from cognitive psychology is very clear: factual information gets lost within a few weeks; it’s gone. But students that code information conceptually...that is a lot more robust over time.
  • We know that researched based instructional strategies work. How do we keep it up? What are the key supports to ongoing implementation? The number one thing is proper faculty training. And the next is a supportive departmental environment.
  • Give students time and space to think. If you do that, learning will improve.


 2021-09-10  33m