Teaching Them before We Teach: The Effectiveness of Conducting Classroom Experiments before Teaching the Underlying Theory

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Authors:
Raymond Li, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Tina Wong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Email: ray.li@polyu.edu.hk
Published: December 1, 2018
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.6.3.05

Citation: Li, R., & Wong, T. (2018). Teaching Them before We Teach: The Effectiveness of Conducting Classroom Experiments before Teaching the Underlying Theory. IAFOR Journal of Education, 6(3). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.6.3.05


Abstract

This study examines the effectiveness of classroom experiments conducted before the relevant theories were taught. The experiments were used to provide students with first-hand experience of decision-making under various rivalry settings and to demonstrate several key predictions of oligopoly models. Statistical methods were used to analyze the effectiveness of these experiments in helping students master the concepts covered by the experiments. In general, students had a positive experience in the process and they found the experiments useful in stimulating their interest and helping improve their understanding of the relevant theories. Statistically, students who took part in the experiments performed significantly better in an exam question on oligopoly markets.

Keywords

economics education, classroom experiments, prior knowledge, decision making, oligopoly model, treatment-effect model