Do university students really need to be taught by the best instructors to learn?
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The present study sought to contribute to the discussion on linearity relationship between teaching and learning at university level. Although the basic assumption that students who are taught by effective instructors learn better is acknowledged, defining the effective instructor seems not so simple. This study attempted to (i) cluster instructors with respect to instructional practices rated by students, and (ii) identify different instructional profiles that may be associated with high learning, rather than just focusing on relationship between instructional practices and learning. Using student ratings from 625 courses in a university setting, subgroups were defined in terms of instructional practices via a segmentation approach. Then, distinct profiles showing high instructional effectiveness were extracted by investigating learning level differences as measured by the end-of-semester grades and self-reported learning levels. Results indicated that the students need not to be taught by the best instructors to reach high learning levels. Effective learning can also take place under lack of some aspects of instructional practices if other aspects receive higher ratings to compensate for the missing aspects.