Active Learning Resources

"A longitudinal study of engineering student performance and retention vs. comparisons with traditionally-taught students."
Felder, R., Felder, G., and Dietz, E.J. (1998). Journal of Engineering Education, 87(4), 469-480. Research on cooperative, active learning

"From teaching to learning, part III: lectures and approaches to active learning."
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 21 (1). D.C. Seeler, D.C., Turnwald, G.H., and Bull, K.S. (1994). Their work explores some of the practical issues related to active learning and discusses ways in which the instructor can improve upon the lecture in order to increase student learning and activity. Methods include questioning, modified lecture formats, brainstorming and tests and quizzes.

"Reflection Activities for Use with Service Learning"
Article based on Robert Bringle and Julie Hatcher's "Reflection in Service Learning: Making Meaning of Experience" (1999) as well as examples from community college faculty around the country. The activities presented here have been adapted by Diane Sloan, Miami-Dade College, and Toni S. Hartsfield, formerly of Bellevue Community College.

Active Learning for the College Classroom
Provides a survey of a wide variety of active learning techniques which can be used to supplement rather than replace lectures. The authors, Donald Paulson and Jennifer Faust present techniques for use with individual students (without interrupting the whole class) as well as techniques for use with small groups or the whole class.

Brainstorming Before Speaking Tasks
Brainstorming is an activity used to generate ideas in small groups. The purpose is to generate as many ideas as possible within a specified time period. These ideas are not evaluated until the end, and a wide range of ideas is often produced. Each idea produced does not need to be usable. Instead, initial ideas can be viewed as a starting pint for more workable ideas. The principle of brainstorming is that you need a lot of ideas to get good ideas. The Internet TESL Journal's article "Brainstorming Before Speaking Tasks" describes research on how brainstorming affects learning and also gives practical implementation tips.

Case Studies in Science: A Novel Method of Science Education
Clyde Freeman Herreid describes case studies as educational stories used to teach students about their field

Center for Teaching and Learning
Examples of how to incorporate active learning are explained on this website. The author provides illustrations of several types of paired activities: think/pair/share, question and answer pairs, and note-checking pairs. Guidelines for using paired activities are also included. Finally, there are sections on planning an active learning activity and keys to success.

Center for Values and Service
The website of the Center for Values and Service, Office of Service-Learning, Loyola College--contains course syllabi, information on locating community partners, a course planning guide for faculty, useful agreement forms.

Collaborative Learning Structures and Techniques
This article describes a number of strategies for using collaborative learning.

Concept Mapping
"Concept Mapping," by Steven Hale at Georgia Perimeter College, describes the steps of constructing concept maps and give some examples as illustration.

University of Colorado at Denver's Constructivism website houses links to a comprehensive list of readings on the educational theory of constructivism and its main proponents. Related concepts: cooperative, collaborative, active, experiential learning

Contextual Teaching and Learning
Robert Berns and Patricia Erickson provide an overview of contextual teaching and learning and various approaches to implementing it. Related concepts: active, experiential, career and technical education, CTE

Educational Simulation Website
The Educational Simulation Website describes three broad types of simulations and gives related links: Group or Meeting-- Facility Simulation-- Virtual Reality.

Experiential Learning
Experiential learning is primarily significant in its emphasis on personal involvement and personal acquisition of knowledge and skills through relevant experiences. C. R. Rogers differentiates between "cognitive (meaningless) and experiential (significant)" learning. This concise discussion presents the main characteristics of experiential learning, an approach Rogers sees as particularly applicable to adults. It includes references and links to relevant sites.

Facilitating Discussion: A Brief Guide
By Katherine K. Gottschalk, Director of Freshman Writing Seminars in Cornell University's John S. Knight Writing Program, provides helpful insight on: creating rapport, encouraging participation, facilitating discussion, getting students to talk to and argue with each other, using small groups, other ideas for invigorating your class.

Faculty Handbook for Service-Learning
This handbook from the University of Maryland describes service learning and provides information and tools to help faculty incorporate service-learning within existing courses or create new service-learning courses. Use links on the left to explore the site.

Getting Started with Cooperative Learning
A sample academic controversy exercise developed for an engineering class by Karl Smith

Implementing Service Learning in Higher Education
By Robert Bringle and Julie Hatcher. From the Journal of Higher Education, April 1996. Includes a Comprehensive Action Plan for Service-Learning (CAPSL) developed by Campus Compact as a model for institutional change and renewal focusing on four core constituencies: the college, the students, the faculty, and the community.

Interactive-engagement vs. traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses
Hake, Richard R., "Interactive-engagement vs. traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses." (1998). American Journal of Physics, 66, 64- 74.

Jigsaw Classroom
The jigsaw technique was first developed in the early 1970s by Elliot Aronson

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science
Visit the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science for informative articles on how to develop and use case studies as a teaching tool. Don't miss "What Makes a Good Case?"

Navigating the Bumpy Road to Student-Centered Instruction
In their very helpful article "Navigating the Bumpy Road to Student-Centered Instruction," Richard M. Felder and Rebecca Brent explore the change from a lecture-based classroom to a more student-centered learning environment

On Student-Centered Learning and Active Participation
In Part V, Section 1 there is a discussion of student-centered learning and active participation. Included are the role of the teacher, encouraging active participation, and setting expectations.

Problem Solving
The National Institute for Science Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, offers problem-solving models including Structured Problem-Solving, Discovery Method, Think-Pair-Square, Drill-Review Pairs, and Thinking Aloud Pair Problem-Solving

Problem-Based Learning in Business Education: Curriculum Design and Implementation Issues
A journal article in which John E. Stinson and Richard G. Milter discuss their eleven years experience using a problem-based approach.

Problem-based Learning, especially in the context of large classes
The website of the chemical engineering department at McMaster University provides excellent resources for facilitating problem-based learning--learning in which "the problem drives the learning....that is, before students learn some knowledge they are given a problem. The problem is posed so that the students discover that they need to learn some new knowledge before they can solve the problem." Included as a resource is an electronic copy of D. R. Woods' book, Problem-based Learning: Helping Your Students Gain the Most from PBL—written for teachers to give them the process for implementing their personal style of PBL for their environment.

Questioning Strategies
Questions should play an important role in every classroom--both students' questions and teachers' questions. Teachers can create an active learning environment by encouraging students to ask and answer questions. This excerpt from the TA Handbook on the University of Delaware's Center for Teaching Excellence website discusses how teachers should ask questions and how to encourage students to ask questions.

Questioning Techniques for Active Learning
The article "Questioning Techniques for Active Learning" by C. M. Wang and Grace Ong provides tips on asking good questions as well as links to other issues of the online journal Ideas on Teaching, Center for the Development of Teaching and Learning, National University of Singapore, 2000.

Role Playing/Simulation
In this article by Patricia J. Tomkins, the role playing/simulation method is analyzed using the formats of approach, design, and procedure.

Service Learning in Community Colleges
This AACC site on Service Learning provides many valuable resources and reports on service learning based on nearly 20 years of research.

Service-Learning Contract Example
An example student-faculty-agency contract from Loyola College's Center for Values and Service.

Shumer's Self-Assessment for Service Learning
A self-reflective system for professionals in the service-learning and experiential learning fields. What follows is a series of instruments and analysis worksheets arranged to help individuals evaluate their current service-learning initiatives to improve and strengthen them. December, 2000 by Rob Shumer, for the Center for Experiential and Service-Learning, Department of Work, Community, and Family Education, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota

Structured Academic Controversy
The site provides a detailed description of the instructional use of structured academic controversy. The "how-to" section contains videos of the practice in action.

Teaching Tips III: suggestions and ideas on teaching
The website for Cleveland State University's Center for Teaching and Learning includes a section on "Active Learning for Almost Any Size Class" with ideas for three alternative lecture formats

The Case Method of Teaching Science
The University of Buffalo's website for Case Study Teaching in Science is a goldmine of links to essays and articles about how to use case studies in the classroom.

Twenty Ways to Make Lectures More Participatory
Lectures play a vital role in teaching. Here are twenty ways to make lectures more participatory. Adapted from Participatory Lectures, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, 1992.