Socratic Dialog Inducing Laboratories

Developed by: Richard Hake

middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school   other

 Intro College Calculus-based
calc based
 Intro College Algebra-based
alg based
 Intro College Conceptual

Lecture - Small (<30 students)  Lab  Studio

What? Guided-inquiry, introductory mechanics labs designed to promote students' mental construction of concepts through conceptual conflict, kinesthetic involvement, analysis of experiments in multiple ways with increasing levels of sophistication, peer discussion, and Socratic dialogue with instructors.

Why? When well-implemented, SDI can promote much deeper conceptual understanding of Newtonian physics. Activities revolve around socially interactive problem-solving, which has been well-received by students. SDI provides valuable data points on day-to-day learning, often inaccessible in survey courses.

Why not? Becoming an accomplished SDI implementer requires time, commitment, and practice. In a large survey class, it would require a sufficient staff of trained "dialogists" to effectively float among student learning groups.

Student skills developed

Designed for:
  • Conceptual understanding
  • Lab skills
  • Making real-world connections
  • Using multiple representations
Can be adapted for:
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Metacognition

Instructor effort required

  • High

Resources required

  • TAs / LAs
  • Advanced lab equipment
  • Tables for group work

Intro Article: R. Hake, Helping Students to Think Like Scientists in Socratic Dialogue-Inducing Labs, Phys. Teach. 50 (1), 48 (2012).
Bronze Validation
This is the third highest level of research validation, corresponding to:
  • at least 1 of the "based on" categories
  • at least 1 of the "demonstrated to improve" categories
  • at least 1 of the "studied using" categories
(Categories shown below)

Research Validation Summary

Based on Research Into:

  • theories of how students learn
  • student ideas about specific topics

Demonstrated to Improve:

  • conceptual understanding
  • problem-solving skills
  • lab skills
  • beliefs and attitudes
  • attendance
  • retention of students
  • success of underrepresented groups
  • performance in subsequent classes

Studied using:

  • cycle of research and redevelopment
  • student interviews
  • classroom observations
  • analysis of written work
  • research at multiple institutions
  • research by multiple groups
  • peer-reviewed publication