Active learning includes any classroom instructional method that requires students to participate in meaningful learning activities, apply the core concepts and engage with the course content and their fellow students in pursuit of a learning goal. The key elements are student activity and engagement in the learning process.There are many different active learning techniques, but most fall under one of these broad categories: collaborative learning, cooperative learning or problem-based learning. While all involve group participation and group roles, there are differences.
In the past few years the idea of the "Flipped Classroom" has made its way from K-12 to Higher Education and advocates of the flipped classroom are growing in number as the evidence for their efficacy increases. So exactly what is a flipped classroom?
"Flipping the classroom" is a pedagogical concept that moves the lecture out of the classroom to pre-class preparation, and uses valuable classroom time for active learning. Typically, this means that students view a series of recorded mini-lectures before coming to class. Classroom time is then used for clarification and higher level applications of the content. In the STEM disciplines, the flipped classroom often incorporates Peer Instruction and ConcepTests. A ConceptTest is a short conceptual question designed to give students opportunities to apply their learning. In Peer Instruction, students first respond to ConcepTests individually, often using a student response system (clicker), then discuss their responses with their peers and instructors, followed by a second opportunity to answer the question. The cycle completes with a final resolution activity to clarify any incorrect responses.
The Flipped Course page contains the resources and research to get you started flipping your course.
Student response systems (clickers) allow the instructor to ask a question, and immediately collect and display in graphical form the students' responses. Every student gets a voice, and you gain instant insight into how well the class grasps the lesson, and what you need to reinforce, reteach or review. Research has shown that classroom response systems such as the iClicker or Poll Everywhere combined with Peer Instruction and ConcepTests, pioneered by Eric Mazur in Physics classes at Harvard, can boost student learning outcomes – through deep learning, not just recall.
Visit the Student Response Systems section in our Technology and Tools section for additional resources, research, software downloads and registration.
Active Learning Techniques and Activities
The Essential Elements of Team-Based Learning
Students Riding on Coattails during Group Work? Five Simple Ideas to Try
Better Group Work Experiences Begin with how the Groups are Formed
3 Easy Ways to use Clickers and Peer Instruction in the Arts and Humanities
CSUSM Library Resources - online books
Active Learning in Higher Education
CSUSM Library Stacks
Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty, by Elizabeth Barkley, also available at Amazon.com
Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research
Improved Learning in a Large-Enrollment Physics Class
Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses
Peer Instruction: Ten years of experience and results
Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom