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Active Learning is a teaching approach that puts the student at the center of their learning, rather than a more passive role.  It includes a variety of strategies and techniques that actively engage students in the learning process, such as discussions, problem solving, case studies, role plays, journal writing, structured learning groups and more.  Some of the benefits from using Active Learning strategies include improved critical thinking skills, increased retention, increased motivation, and improved interpersonal skills.

Incorporating Active Learning into your course does take time, but there are some strategies professors can employ to help ensure content is covered.  Some Active Learning techniques may take very little time too and/or are easier to implement than others, such as "one minute paper" or "think-pair-share."  

If this is your first time implementing Active Learning into your course, we recommend you start small (choose one simple technique to try) and remember to focus more on engaging more students in more meaningful ways, rather than trying to engage all of your students.

Use Active Learning and Ensure Content is Covered

Try thinking about your course materials and what students could be doing before class to prepare for in-class activities.  

Some examples of how you might do this: 

  • Pre-class reading assignments
  • Watching videos ahead of time and answering questions
  • Pre-class quizzes on Canvas to ensure students have read the required material

Incorporate Active Learning Into your Course

Adding a new teaching strategy to a course can be challenging, but by considering the following, you will more than likely succeed and lower your stress during the quarter.

Start Small

  • Choose one or two Active Learning techniques to try and adjust them to meet your course learning objectives

Plan Ahead

  • How are you going to introduce the activity?
    • Are there rules of conduct to encourage participation?
    • What is the learning benefit?
  • Do you need visual aids? Directions?
  • How much time do you think your activity will need?
  • How will you debrief?
    • Try to tie things into the next steps of your lecture or class activity

Logistics, Logistics, Logistics

  • How will you get a large class back on topic?
  • Are there physical limitations to the room?

Using Technology to Facilitate Active Learning

Have you considered that there might be tools or software owned by the university or available at little to no cost, that can help you facilitate active learning? Meet with ETM Staff to talk about what you want to do in your course and we'll help you find the right tool.


Additional Resources

links to other wiki pages or outside info that's relevant and wasn't already linked above