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P3-03: Mixing Active Learning and Lecturing: Using Interactive Visualization as a Teaching Tool

By Ted Laderas & Jessica Minnier (Oregon Health & Science University)


Interactive visualizations are a powerful tool for teaching statistical and mathematical concepts using an active learning context. The interactive format can help develop intuition and understanding for abstract and unfamiliar mathematical topics. However, to be useful, these visualizations must be mixed with didactic lecturing in order to introduce the fundamentals of the mathematical concepts. In this presentation, we present our teaching methods and results using interactive visualization to teach statistics to adult beginners for the OHSU Data Science Institute, a two day workshop emphasizing data science skills. We demonstrate the approach using real health survey data (National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, NHANES), and provide examples of using interactive visualizations to increase “data curiosity” and student confidence. We will discuss both strengths and drawbacks to this approach, including class participation, the effectiveness of this approach for diverse learners, as well as student feedback on our lectures. Our web-based interactive tutorials using the R package “learnr” are freely available here: