Interteaching Versus Traditional Methods of Instruction: A preliminary analysis

Bryan K. Saville
Tracy E. Zinn
Marcus P. Elliott


Interteaching is a new pedagogical method based on behavior-analytic principles, it includes elements of Keller's (1968) Personalized System of Instruction, reciprocal peer tutoring, and cooperative learning. We examined the effectiveness of interteaching relative to more traditional methods of instruction in a controlled laboratory setting. We randomly assigned participants to 1 of 4 conditions: interteaching, lecture, reading, or control. Participants in the interteaching group performed significantly better on a short multiple-choice quiz than participants in the other groups. Our results suggest that interteaching may be an effective alternative to other methods of classroom instruction.



This study examines the effectiveness of interteaching as compared to traditional methods of instruction. Interteaching is similar to personal system of instruction (PSI) but attempts to negate some of the drawbacks of PSI. Specifically, interteaching does not require mastery learning, students are self-paced during each course meeting rather than across the semester, a focus on student discussion reduces the burden on teacher resources, and as teachers still lecture and facilitate discussion, they are a more active and visible player in the learning process. Participants were broken up into four groups consisting of interteaching, lecture, reading and control, and were quizzed on the content covered. Findings show that students in the interteaching group answered a statistically significantly greater percentage of questions correctly, suggesting that interteaching “might be an effective alternative to other traditional forms of instruction” (p. 162). The authors note “the combination of features that (a) requires active learning, (b) capitalizes on immediate social reinforcement from peers and instructor, (c)creates a clear cooperative learning environment, and (d) provides a clear relation between study and test materials likely facilitates learning and results in better retention than the other methods we tested” (p. 162).

APA Citation

Saville, B. K., Zinn, T. E., & Elliott, M. P. (2005). Interteaching versus traditional methods of instruction: A preliminary analysis. Teaching of Psychology, 32(3), 161-163.

About the Study

Links to Article
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Teaching of Psychology
Type of Research Other
Research Design Experiments
Intervention/Areas of Study Active learning, Adaptive learning, Collaborative, group, or team-based learning, Content-student interactions, Course and program evaluation, Course design, Course organization, Faculty and professional development and/or training, Instructor-student interactions, Personalized learning, Self-paced learning, Student readiness, Student support, Student-student interactions
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest 4-year Institution, Bachelors-granting
Specific Course or Program Characteristics Arts and humanities, Formal sciences, Natural sciences, Social sciences, STEM
Outcome Variables of Interest Academic achievement or performance, including assessment scores and course grades, Institutional effectiveness, Instructional effectiveness, Learning effectiveness, Program effectiveness
Student Sample Size 0-99
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