Evaluation of Innovative Teaching Approaches: The Moderating Effect of Student Prior Experience


The success of creative or innovative teaching approaches is often measured by student perceptual ratings of the learning environment or by academic outcomes. This paper examines student perceptions of a novel human physiology laboratory format and the effect of prior experience on these perceptions. The same undergraduate human physiology course, taught at second year level, was taken by students who had previously completed a semester of human physiology (‘continuing’ students) and by those taking it for the first time (‘new’ students). The “continuing” students were significantly more positive about the novel format compared to the previous format. The class as a whole (‘continuing’ plus “new”) also gave a strong positive rating of the novel format. However a comparison between the ‘continuing’ and the “new’ students showed that the latter were significantly more positive in their perception of the laboratory in all areas apart from active participation. A correlational analysis indicated strong inter-rater links for the ‘continuing’ students but weak or non-significant inter-rater correlations for the ‘new’ students. The study suggests that, given the diversity of student backgrounds and prior experience in a given class, that perceptual ratings of the learning environment alone may not provide enough support for the effectiveness of novel teaching interventions.

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Byrne, B. & Guy, R. (2012). Evaluation of Innovative Teaching Approaches: The Moderating Effect of Student Prior Experience. Creative Education, 3, 755-760. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.326113.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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