WSU Technology Knowledge Base:Active Learning

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About this article

This article includes an overview of flipped teaching and links to related articles and resources. It is intended for instructors.

What's Active Learning?

Active learning is generally described as a process where students engage in activities that focus specifically on the use of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation with emphasis on having students think and show deeper thinking. A student in an active learning classroom would read, write, discuss, or be engaged in solving problems that promote higher-order thinking skills. An excellent article for reading more of the literature on active learning can be found [here].

Active learning probably is growing because:

  • There is increasing evidence that student engagement, during active learning activities promote high-impact learning experiences that result in better student learning outcomes than passive information delivery alone. Micheal Prince (2004) study (see here) focuses on the three common forms of active learning (i.e. Collaborative, Cooperative, and Problem-based Learning).

Active Learning Strategies

Active learning can have many forms designed to promote engagement within classes. While the use of learning activities may or may not include technology many find measurable outcomes when active learning uses meaningful instructional technologies designed to promote, capture, and document desired learning outcomes . For example:

  • In-class debates or presentations can be recorded with an iPad and critiqued by the student. Faculty utilizing the Grader app along with a D2L Brightspace rubric can provide timely feedback to students by text, audio, and/or video.
  • Peer Instruction: This may be facilitated using student engagement or "clicker" systems. WSU is currently standardized on Turning Technologies, but is exploring a campus-wide [Top Hat] .
  • Collaborative, problem-based, or challenge-based learning: Student teams may benefit from access to web resources, research tools, discipline-specific tablet apps, group writing tools, screen sharing tools, and shared mind mapping tools.

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