Active Learning Techniques

Active Learning exists in three spheres: individual, group, or combination engagement. All of these have different levels of implementation difficulty to make it easier to figure out how you can start, including Active Learning. Included are some supported strategies to get you started, but Active Learning is a great space to express your creativity in the classroom. Most of these ideas can be translated online through Canvas resources or Google applications in the event you are teaching primarily online.

Active Learning while Physically Distancing

Louisiana State University has created a matrix of active learning techniques and ways to adapt them to different instructional modes such as face-to-face, physically distanced classrooms, online-synchronous, and online-asynchronous.

Keep in mind, the earlier the better. If you are currently designing a course, start these activities early in the semester, so students are more willing to participate throughout the semester. Students may seem resistant, so it is wise to set ground-rules early in the class so students know what is expected of them. Active Learning is an excellent tool to see if your students are retaining key concepts in the course. However, it is best not to express this to students directly as it can sway results and increase resistance. It is important to note that not every activity will engage every student, so it's advised that you mix up techniques regularly to ensure you are reaching all of your students (Lumpkin et. al 2013). 

New teaching techniques take time for both instructors and students to get used to, allow for this learning curve while assessing whether or not new techniques are effective for your class. The important part about your role in Active Learning is to be creative, be patient, and have fun.


Lumpkin, A., Achen, R., and Dodd, R. (2015). "Student perceptions of active learning.College Student Journal, 49, 121-133.