Active learning is a process whereby students engage in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content. Active learning requires students to do meaningful activities and think about what they are doing. While this definition could include traditional activities such as homework, in practice it refers to activities introduced into the classroom. The core elements of active learning are student activity and engagement in the learning process. Active learning is often contrasted to the traditional lecture where students passively receive information.
With permission: Annie Nickum, University of North Dakota Libraries
Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research (Prince, 2004) This study examines the evidence for the effectiveness of active learning. It provides a definition of active learning and explores the different types of active learning most frequently discussed in engineering education literature. Those outside of engineering will likewise find this source helpful in providing concise definitions, literature review, and valuable questions that will promote instructor’s understanding of active learning.
Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (2013) The studies analyzed here document that active learning leads to increases in examination performance that would raise average grades by a half a letter, and that failure rates under traditional lecturing increase by 55% over the rates observed under active learning.
Strategies to Incorporate Active Learning into Online Teaching Instructors/designers must continue to design activities that support learning objectives, but structure them to work online, outside of the traditional classroom environment where active learning techniques are heavily dependent upon face-to-face interaction (e.g., discussion, group work, role-play).
University of Florida's Active Learning in Online Courses Active learning is an activity in a course that goes beyond passively listening to a lecture or a video. It is a learning technique that challenges students to engage through mental contributions, hands-on activities, or the process of investigation, discovery and interpretation.