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Framework for Interactive Learning in Lectures (FILL)

A tool for characterising classroom practices

FILL+ is a highly repeatable and reliable tool for characterising classroom practices


The Framework for Interactive Learning in Lectures (FILL) was developed in 2014 by Anna Wood, together with colleagues in the Physics Education Research Group at the University of Edinburgh. The original work coded 16 lectures from a first year Physics Class at the University of Edinburgh “Framework for Interactive Learning in Lectures” (FILL) developed by Wood et al.

The framework provides a simple way to characterise the activities that take place in a lecture – in other words to ask ‘What are the students doing? and What is the lecturer doing?’.

In comparison to other characterisations tools FILL uses a continuous coding method which gives an accurate picture, to the nearest second of the interactions that take place in a lecture. It is straightforward to learn and has good inter-rater reliability.


FILL categories


The FILL framework also introduces the categories of ‘Interactive’, ‘Vicarious Interactive’ and ‘Non-interactive’ to describe each activity.


A short video introducing FILL framework


Projects that have used FILL

Characterizing interactive engagement activities in a flipped introductory physics class.” Wood, Anna K., et al. Physical Review Physics Education Research 12.1 (2016): 010140

“From students to scientists: The impact of interactive engagement in lectures.”  McMillan, Craig, Daphne Loads, and Heather A. McQueen. “From students to scientists: The impact of interactive engagement in lectures.” New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences 13 (2018).

What really happens in active engagement lectures? Craig Young, Judy Hardy, Anna Wood, PERC 2018n Conference




In 2019 FILL+ was developed as an extension of the earlier FILL framework.

Principally it makes two small changes to FILL – expanding the LQ (Lecturer question) category into LQ (lecturer question) and SR (Student response) and the SQ (Student question ) category into SQ (Student question) and LR (lecturer response).


Several projects have made use of FILL+ so far.

Developing FILL+

The initial work to develop FILL+ was a collaboration between researchers in the School of Mathematics, the School of Physics and Astronomy, and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

This project was funded by the Principal’s Teaching Awards Scheme.

Mathematics lecturers’ use of questions

Using FILL+ codes for 136 mathematics lectures, we identified a total of 2460 questions asked by lecturers. We then used a coding scheme from previous research to carry out further analysis.

Teacher reflections

We have an ongoing project, funded by the Principal’s Teaching Awards Scheme, to investigate how FILL+ can help to support teacher reflection.

We have carried out a series of semi-structured interviews to explore lecturers’ response to seeing the results of applying FILL+ to their classes.


If you would like to use FILL+, we have produced a training manual (supported by sample lecture clips) that you can use to learn how to apply the codes consistently.

Cite as: Smith, S., Anderson, R., Gant, T., & Kinnear, G. (2020). FILL+ Training Manual.


If you have any questions about FILL+, please contact one of the team:


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