Active Learning

To help get started with thinking about Active Learning, we've broken it down to three points.

  • What is it? Active Learning involves including the student in the learning process rather than the traditional mode of lecturing for the purposes of increasing student attention and retention.
  • Why do it? The idea behind Active Learning is that students are engaged with material outside of note-taking are more likely to remember important details about the concepts being taught. By implementing these techniques, student cognition will increase, thereby elevating both understanding and performance. (Carr 2015)
  • How do I implement it? There are a variety of ways to implement Active Learning in the classroom. Some key things to consider are enrollment size, technology available both in the room and for your students, and whether you want to use active learning to help assess your teaching effectiveness.

Active Learning techniques are being used more frequently as research verifies its usefulness in the classroom. MIT's overview video and the University of Minnesota's "Why Use Active Learning?" video are both helpful resources to begin understanding active learning.

Carr, R., Palmer, S., and Hagel, P. (2015). "Active learning: the importance of developing a comprehensive measure.Active Learning in Higher Education, 16, 173-186

"Active Learning Overview." YouTube video, 4:59. Posted by "MIT OpenCourseWare," February 24, 2017.

"Why use Active Learning?" YouTube video, 2:59. Posted by "Center for Educational Innovation - University of Minnesota," August 2, 2018.