Active learning is “anything that involves students in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing” (Bonwell & Eison, 1991, p. 2). Active learning involves and engages students with the resources and activities by requiring them to do things and to collaborate, instead of just sitting and listening or watching.
Students share and compare possible answers to a question with a partner before addressing the larger class.
Pick the Winner
Divide the class into groups and have all groups work on the same problem and record an answer/strategy on paper. Then, ask groups to switch with a nearby group, and evaluate
Their answer. After a few minutes, allow each set of groups to merge and ask them to select the better answer from the two choices, which will be presented to the class as a whole.
In groups, students create a 30-second TV commercial for the subject currently being discussed in class.
A listing of classroom activities by category such as instructor lead or student lead, small group, individual, and class. Each activity is described and an example is given
- Center for Faculty Excellence (University of North Carolina): Classroom Activities for Active Learning
- The University of North Carolina created this reference tool to provide a description of a few activities used in Active Learning
- Teaching Commons (Stanford University): Activities to Boost Student Engagement
- Julie Dodd: 10 Strategies for Active Learning in College Classrooms
- Jim Eison, Ph.D. (University of South Florida): Using Active Learning Instructional Strategies (pdf)
- Scott Freeman et al.: Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics
- Michael Prince: Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research
- Scientific American: Stop Lecturing Me (In College Science)!
- Patricia L. Machemer and Pat Crawford: Student perceptions of active learning in a large cross-disciplinary classroom
- Richard Hake: Interactive-engagement vs traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses