Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2011

Summary of projects

Project title

Interteaching: Realisation of an Urban Laboratory

Project leaders

Dr Mandy Kienhuis

Project team

  • Associate Professor Andrea Chester, School of Health Sciences, Discipline of Psychology
  • Professor Peter Wilson, School of Health Sciences, Discipline of Psychology
  • Ms Karen Elgar, School of Health Sciences, Discipline of Psychology

Project summary

The Interteaching model is an innovative approach to learning and teaching designed to support student engagement and greater depth of learning. The standard Interteaching model includes guided independent learning, student-paced small group tutorial discussion, and brief lectures that are developed in response to student feedback. A distinctive feature of the model is that tutorials precede lectures as a way of consolidating the concepts that students need most direction on (Boyce & Hineline 2002). In 2010, the Interteaching model was evaluated with the RMIT 2nd-year Developmental Psychology cohort. The efficacy of the approach was overwhelming, including statistically significant increases in student engagement, grades and Course Experience Survey (CES) scores. However, student behaviour and feedback indicated that the brief face-to-face lectures were not an essential component of the model, and that students may prefer brief audiovisual podcast learning modules (“podules”) in addition to enhanced tutorial content. In 2011, replacement of face-to-face lectures with podules and enhanced tutorial content was trialled in the Interteaching model, using the RMIT 2nd-year Developmental Psychology cohort.

A total of 99 students enrolled in the Developmental Psychology course volunteered to participate in the end-of-semester evaluation of the Interteaching program. Overall, results revealed that the gains in academic progress, student engagement, and student satisfaction observed during the 2010 implementation of the Interteaching model were maintained in 2011. These results suggest that the use of podules in the course does not detract from the learning benefits of the Interteaching model. The cost and time effectiveness of podules in comparison to traditional lectures further recommends the continued implementation of podules in the Interteaching model.


  • Report on the development and evaluation of a teaching model that can be used to enhance the teaching of large classes across the university.
  • A teaching model that leads to enhanced engagement and learning in large classes, which can be applied to other courses and disciplines.
  • An integrated package of learning and assessment tools that can be applied to other courses and disciplines.
  • Development of sustainable tools for learning in Developmental Psychology, including ‘podules’ (online podcast modules) of content typically delivered during face-to-face lectures.
  • Maintenance of improvements in Good Teaching Scale (GTS) scores in the Developmental Psychology course.
  • Workshop at the 2011 RMIT University Learning and Teaching Expo: Kienhuis, M., Elgar, K., & Wilson, P. (2011, August). Interteaching: Enhancing student engagement and learning outcomes. RMIT University Learning and Teaching Expo, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Paper submitted for publication: Chester, A, Kienhuis, ., & Wilson, P (in review). Implementation of the inter-teaching model: Implications for staff. Teaching in Higher Education.
  • An evaluative research study, with sufficient data to be developed into a further research paper and submitted to a peer-reviewed L&T journal in 2012.
  • Development of an online learning framework in collaboration with EMG.
  • Expansion of the research project across several disciplines at RMIT University in 2012, supported by a LTIF 2012 grant: Interteaching: Dissemination and evaluation across three Colleges. ($50,000)

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