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Active Learning Strategies and Techniques. Nancy Allen, Ph.D. College of Education Qatar University. Workshop Objectives. By the end of this workshop, participants are expected to be able to: Investigate current research related to how people learn.

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active learning strategies and techniques

Active Learning Strategies and Techniques

Nancy Allen, Ph.D.

College of Education

Qatar University

workshop objectives
Workshop Objectives

By the end of this workshop, participants are expected to be able to:

  • Investigate current research related to how people learn.
  • Describe common learning styles and identify instructional methods consistent with each style.
  • Relate the theories of learning styles and active research.
  • Use these theories to modify and improve current teaching practices.


Learning style is simply the way a person prefers to process information.

some researchers currently identify three main learning styles
Some researchers currently identify three main learning styles:
  • auditory,
  • visual, and
  • kinesthetic/tactile
  • Other researchers identify more.
the important thing to remember is
The important thing to remember is:
  • We all have a mix of learning styles, and that we can develop areas that we currently do not frequently use.
how do we get a learning style
How do we get a “learning style”?
  • Learning styles are a result of a complex combination of heredity, experience, and opportunity.
  • There is no right or wrong learning style; however, schools have been designed for mostly auditory learners.
  • Students whose strengths are in other forms may have to learn to build on their current strengths while building others.
determining personal learning style
Determining Personal Learning Style

There are many print-based and online quizzes for determining personal learning style.

kinesthetic learners can benefit from
Kinesthetic Learners Can Benefit from:
  • Studying in short blocks.
  • Taking lab classes.
  • Role playing.
  • Taking field trips, visiting museums.
  • Studying with others.
  • Using memory games.
  • Using flash cards to memorize. (, 2008).
learning techniques for visual learners
Learning Techniques for Visual Learners
  • Draw a map of events in history or draw scientific process.
  • Make outlines of everything!
  • Copy what’s on the board.
  • Ask the teacher to diagram.
  • Take notes, make lists.
  • Watch videos.
  • Color code words, research notes.
  • Outline reading.
  • Use flashcards.
  • Use highlighters, circle words, underline. (, 2008).
auditory learners can benefit from
Auditory Learners Can Benefit from:
  • Using word association to remember facts and lines.
  • Recording lectures.
  • Watching videos.
  • Repeating facts with eyes closed.
  • Participating in group discussions.
  • Using audiotapes for language practice.
  • Taping notes after writing them. (, 2008).
some educators recognize four learning styles rather than three
Some educators recognize four learning styles rather than three.
  • Visual/ Verbal
  • Visual/ Nonverbal
  • Tactile/Kinesthetic
  • Auditory/ Verbal
the visual verbal learning style
The Visual/ Verbal Learning Style
  • You learn best when information is presented visually and in a written language format.
  • In a classroom setting, you benefit from instructors who use the blackboard (or overhead projector) to list the essential points of a lecture, or who provide you with an outline to follow along with during lecture.
the visual verbal learning style15
The Visual/ Verbal Learning Style
  • You benefit from information obtained from textbooks and class notes.
  • You tend to like to study by yourself in a quiet room.
  • You often see information "in your mind's eye" when you are trying to remember something.
learning strategies for the visual verbal learner
Learning Strategies for the Visual/ Verbal Learner:
  • To aid recall, make use of "color coding" when studying new information in your textbook or notes.
  • Using highlighter pens, highlight different kinds of information in contrasting colors.
  • Write out sentences and phrases that summarize key information obtained from your textbook and lecture.
learning strategies for the visual verbal learner17
Learning Strategies for the Visual/ Verbal Learner:
  • Make flashcards of vocabulary words and concepts that need to be memorized.
  • Use highlighter pens to emphasize key points on the cards.
  • Limit the amount of information per card so your mind can take a mental "picture" of the information.
visual verbal
Visual/ Verbal
  • When learning information presented in diagrams or illustrations, write out explanations for the information.
  • When learning mathematical or technical information, write out in sentences and key phrases your understanding of the material.
  • When a problem involves a sequence of steps, write out in detail how to do each step.
visual verbal19
Visual/ Verbal
  • Make use of computer word processing. Copy key information from your notes and textbook into a computer. Use the print-outs for visual review.
  • Before an exam, make yourself visual reminders of information that must be memorized. Make "stick it" notes containing key words and concepts and place them in highly visible places --on your mirror, notebook, car dashboard, etc..
the visual nonverbal learning style
The Visual/ Nonverbal Learning Style
  • You learn best when information is presented visually and in a picture or design format.
  • In a classroom setting, you benefit from instructors who use visual aids such as film, video, maps and charts.
  • You benefit from information obtained from the pictures and diagrams in textbooks.
  • You tend to like to work in a quiet room and may not like to work in study groups.
  • When trying to remember something, you can often visualize a picture of it in your mind.
  • You may have an artistic side that enjoys activities having to do with visual art and design.
the visual nonverbal learning style21
The Visual/ Nonverbal Learning Style
  • You learn best when information is presented visually and in a picture or design format.
  • In a classroom setting, you benefit from instructors who use visual aids such as film, video, maps and charts.
  • You benefit from information obtained from the pictures and diagrams in textbooks.
learning strategies for the visual nonverbal learner
Learning Strategies for the Visual/ Nonverbal Learner:
  • Limit the amount of information per card, so your mind can take a mental "picture' of the information.
  • Mark up the margins of your textbook with key words, symbols, and diagrams that help you remember the text.
  • Use highlighter pens of contrasting colors to "color code" the information.
learning strategies for the visual nonverbal learner23
Learning Strategies for the Visual/ Nonverbal Learner:
  • Use the computer to assist in organizing material that needs to be memorized.
  • Using word processing, create tables and charts with graphics that help you to understand and retain course material.
  • Use spreadsheet and database software to further organize material that needs to be learned.
  • As much as possible, translate words and ideas into symbols, pictures, and diagrams.
learning strategies for the visual nonverbal learner24
Learning Strategies for the Visual/ Nonverbal Learner:
  • When learning mathematical or technical information, make charts to organize the information.
  • When a mathematical problem involves a sequence of steps, draw a series of boxes, each containing the appropriate bit of information in sequence.
  • Use large square graph paper to assist in creating charts and diagrams that illustrate key concepts.
the tactile kinesthetic learning style
The Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learning Style
  • You learn best when physically engaged in a "hands on" activity. In the classroom.
  • You benefit from a lab setting where you can man ipulate materials to learn new information.
  • You learn best when you can be physically active in the learning environment.
  • You benefit from instructors who encourage in-class demonstrations, "hands on" student learning experiences, and field work outside t he classroom.
strategies for the tactile kinesthetic learner
Strategies for the Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learner:
  • To help you stay focused on class lecture, sit near the front of the room and take notes throughout the class period.
  • Don't worry about correct spelling or writing in complete sentences. Jot down key words and draw pictures or make charts to help you remember the information you are hearing.
  • When studying, walk back and forth with textbook, notes, or flashcards in hand and read the information out loud.
  • Think of ways to make your learning tangible, i.e. something you can put your hands on. For example, make a model that illustrates a key concept.
strategies for the tactile kinesthetic learner27
Strategies for the Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learner:
  • Spend extra time in a lab setting to learn an important procedure.
  • Spend time in the field (e.g. a museum, hi storical site, or job site) to gain first-hand experience of your subject matter.
  • To learn a sequence of steps, make 3'x 5' flashcards for each step.
  • Arrange the cards on a table top to represent the correct sequence.
  • Put words, symbols, or pictures on your flashcards -- anything that helps you remember the information.
strategies for the tactile kinesthetic learner28
Strategies for the Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learner:
  • Limit the amount of information per card to aid recall. Practice putting the cards in order until the sequence becomes automatic.
  • When reviewing new information, copy key points onto a
  • Make use of the computer to reinforce learning through the sense of touch.
strategies for the tactile kinesthetic learner29
Strategies for the Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learner:
  • Using word processing software, copy essential information from your notes and textbook.
  • Use graphics, tables, and spreadsheets to further organize material that must be learned.
  • Listen to audio tapes on a Walkman tape player while exercising. Make your own tapes containing important course information.
the auditory verbal learning style
The Auditory/ Verbal Learning Style
  • You learn best when information is presented auditory in an oral language format.
  • In a classroom setting, you benefit from listening to lecture and participating in group discussions.
  • You also benefit from obtaining information from audio tape.
  • When trying to remember something, you can often "hear" the way someone told you the information, or the way you previously repeated it out loud.
  • You learn best when interacting with others in a listening/speaking exchange.
strategies for the auditory verbal learner
Strategies for the Auditory/ Verbal Learner:
  • Join a study group to assist you in learning course material. Or, work with a "study buddy" on an ongoing basis to review key information and prepare for exams.
  • When studying by yourself, talk out loud to aid recall.
  • Get yourself in a room where you won't be bothering anyone and read your notes and textbook out loud.
strategies for the auditory verbal learner32
Strategies for the Auditory/ Verbal Learner:
  • Tape record your lectures.
  • When learning mathematical or technical information, "talk your way" through the new information.
strategies for the auditory verbal learner33
Strategies for the Auditory/ Verbal Learner:
  • State the problem in your own words.
  • Reason through solutions to problems by talking out loud to yourself or with a study partner.
  • To learn a sequence of steps, write them out in sentence form and read them out loud (Miller, S., 2000).
The important point to remember is that if we choose ways to study that are best for us, we may improve our study and learning habits.
what does it mean to learn
What does it mean “to learn”?
  • Think
  • Write
  • Share
  • Compromise


Think, Pair, Share

learning pairs cognitive processing build knowledge comprehension
Learning PairsCognitive processing: build knowledge, comprehension
  • Quick discussion or lengthy tasks.
  • From low level cognitive processing (comprehension) to higher level processing (problem solving).
  • Input and output vary for each situation, but the process always requires that learners work in pairs
assumptions about learning43
Assumptions About Learning
  • People easily transfer learning from one situation to another if they have learned the fundamental skills and concepts.
  • Learners are "receivers" of knowledge in verbal forms from books, experts and teachers.
  • Learning is entirely behaviorist, involving the strengthening of bonds between stimuli and correct responses.
  • Learners are blank slates ready to be written on and filled with knowledge.
  • Skills and knowledge are best acquired independent of realistic contexts for use.
  • Define the problem
  • Keep the session focused
  • No criticism
  • Include everyone
  • Have fun
  • Make connections between ideas
  • Take notes
when there were no schools how did people learn where there are no schools how do people learn
When there were no schools, how did people learn? Where there are no schools, how do people learn?
  • National Research Council (2000). How People Learn.
  • Jensen, E. (2005). Teaching with the Brain in Mind, 2nd Ed.
knowledge overload
Knowledge Overload
  • Human knowledge is currently doubling every 6 months.*
  • We can’t teach it all.

*William J. Clinton.Remarks by the President to the National Association of Attorneys General. March 12, 1998. (retrieved 23 Dec. 2004).

a new definition of knowledge
A new definition of knowledge…
  • …the meaning of “knowing has shifted from being able to remember and repeat information to being able to find and use it.” (Herbert Simon, Nobel laureate, 1996)
what current research says
What Current Research Says
  • Key findings were drawn from cognitive theory– about how people think, brain physiology – how the brain in made and works, and educational research – how students change in regard to classroom practice.
key findings
Key Findings
  • Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works.
  • If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp the new concepts and information that they are taught,
  • or they may learn them for purposes of a test but revert to their preconceptions outside the classroom.
key findings52
Key Findings
  • To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must:

(a) have a deep foundation of factual knowledge,

(b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and

(c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.

key findings53
Key Findings
  • A “metacognitive” approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them.
what does this mean for teaching
What does this mean for teaching?
  • Learning and learners, not teaching and teachers, must be the focus
  • Depth, not breath, must determine content
  • Classroom experiences must include development of metacognitive skills and learning independence.
the problem of transfer

The problem of TRANSFER

Transfer is the ability to use what is learned in one setting (e.g. school) in new settings (e.g. life situations)


“We know that learning is a matter of making connections between the brain cells and that the experiences our student have shape their brains.… the strongest connections are often made through concrete experience (constructionist learning). Pat Wolfe Ed. D

The Importance of Active Learning

  • Form temporary "expert groups" by having one student from each jigsaw group join other students assigned to the same segment.
  • Give students in these expert groups time to discuss the main points of their segment and to rehearse the presentations they will make to their jigsaw group.
  • Bring the students back into their jigsaw groups.
  • Ask each student to present her or his segment to the group. Encourage others in the group to ask questions for clarification.
  • Float from group to group, observing the process.
  • At the end of the session, give a quiz on the material so that students quickly come to realize that these sessions are not just fun and games but really count.
  • Type of cooperative learning in which students become experts on one part of the material and teach it to other students
  • Promotes positive interdependence and individual accountability
  • Easy to learn and fun to use
  • Flexible in time requirement and depth of commitment
  • Teaching increases understanding and retention
how the brain learns and remembers
How The Brain Learns and Remembers
  • The neuron produces new dendrites when the brain is actively engaged in learning. The more a nerve is stimulated, the more dendrites it grows.


what if we want divergent creative rather than convergent analytical thought
What if we want divergent (creative) rather than convergent (analytical) thought)?
  • The key is to form MULTIPLE connections – neural networks – by providing diverse experiences.
how the brain learns and remembers61
How the Brain Learns and Remembers
  • 2 ways to build learning and memory
    • Stronger connections (axon covered with myelin for strong, single-route connection)
    • Broader connection pattern (dendrites connect with many neurons)
how the brain learns and remembers62
How the Brain Learns and Remembers

2 ways to build learning and memory

  • Stronger connections – repetition, direct instruction, practice
  • Broader connection pattern– multiple modes of input, exploration, new contexts
summary of dendrite based learning
Summary of dendrite-based learning
  • Repeated use strengthens brain connections.
  • If connections are not used, they are “pruned” away
  • The brain “grows itself” for whatever environment it experiences.
ability to learn
Ability to learn……

Ready for flight or fight;

Impulses only

Best learning

Increasing stress


experiences that strengthen neural connections cause learning
Experiences that Strengthen Neural Connections – Cause Learning
  • Are frequent, regular, and predictable
  • Occur in the context of a warm, supportive relationship
  • Are associated with positive emotion (fun, excitement, humor, comfort)
  • Involve several senses
  • Are responsive to the student’s interests or initiative
educational philosophies
Direct Instruction

Teacher is active

2. Learning is “poured” into the student by reading or lecturing.

3. Textbook Driven

4. Drill – Rote Memory

5. Practice - Rote

6. Student is observing.

Constructivist Learning

Student is active

Discovery Learning

3. Sources - Library

4. Concrete Experience

Trial and Error Learning- Correct Mistakes

Teacher Facilitator

Educational Philosophies


Concept Mapping


Graphic Organizers

active learning
Active learning

It is a process whereby learners are actively engaged in the learning process, rather than "passively" absorbing lectures. Active learning involves reading, writing, discussion, and engagement in solving problems, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

active learning72
Active Learning

-A multi-directional learning experience in which learning occurs teacher-to-student, student-to-teacher, and student-to-student.

- Activity-based learning experiences: whole class involvement, teams, small groups, trios, pairs, individuals.

activities listed by cognitive skill bloom s taxonomy higher order thinking skills
Activities Listed by Cognitive Skill(Bloom's Taxonomy)Higher Order Thinking Skills

Knowledge: recalling or remembering specific facts, information, or general concepts without necessarily understanding .

Comprehension: involves understanding learned material. Demonstrating ability to grasp meaning, explain, and restate ideas.

Application: demonstrating ability to use learned material in new situations, to put ideas and concepts to work in solving problems.

Analysis: involves breaking down information into its component parts to see interrelationships and ideas.

Synthesis: ability to put together separate ideas to form a new whole, establish new relationships.

Evaluation: involves judging the value of evidence based on definite criteria.

Dale's Cone diagrams effectiveness of learning according to the media involved in learning experiences :

©Raymond S. Pastore, Ph.D.

Roundtable Brainstorming

Purpose: Generate as many answers to the question as possible.

Unlike other versions of brainstorming that you may have experienced, this one involves taking turns and having teammates contribute one answer at a time.

  • Listen to the question.
  • Think about all the answers that might be appropriate.
  • Write one answer on a paper while saying it out loud.
  • Pass the paper to the teammate on your left.
  • Listen to the one answer that each of your teammates will write.
  • Write an additional answer that no one has mentioned the next time the paper comes to you.
  • Listen to the additional answers from your teammates.
  • Continue contributing answers, one at a time, until time is up.
why should we use active learning
Why should we Use Active Learning ?
  • Involves students more actively with the course content
  • Helps them apply what they are learning and use higher order thinking skills.
  • Appeals to a wide variety of learning styles and intellectual strengths.
  • Active learning involves the whole student in the learning process: heart and hand and head.
  • Active learning makes students do.
  • Active learning can excite students about the subject matter, thus getting them more personally involved in their own learning process.
learning styles82
Learning Styles

Indicates our preferences for taking information into the brain and communicating them "outside.”

What is your “preferred” learning style? Or are you multimodal?

Does your preferred learning style affect the way you are teaching? If yes, how?

activities listed by learning style
Activities Listed by Learning Style

Active learners like group work, learn through doing: discussing, explaining, and applying.

Reflective learners prefer working alone, like to think quietly.

Sensing learners prefer learning facts, like solving problems by well-established methods, dislike complications and surprises, are patient with details and good at memorizing facts and doing hands-on work, are practical and careful, prefer learning that relates to the real world.

Intuitive learners prefer to discover possibilities and relationships, like innovation and dislike repetition, grasp new concepts quickly, are comfortable with abstractions and mathematical formulations, are innovative and work quickly, dislike memorization and routine calculations.

learning styles cont
Learning Styles Cont.

Visual learners remember best what they see (pictures, diagrams, flow charts, time lines, films, and demonstrations).

Verbal remember best what they hear and read.

Sequential learners gain understanding in linear steps, each step following logically from the previous one; tend to follow logical stepwise paths in finding solutions.

Global learners tend to learn in large jumps, absorbing material almost randomly without seeing connections, and then suddenly "getting it," are able to solve complex problems quickly or put things together in novel ways once they have grasped the big picture, but they may have difficulty explaining how they did it.

multiple intelligences
Multiple Intelligences

Verbal/Linguistic “plays with words” Good with language. Needs to hear, see and say words associated with the desired outcome.

Logical/Mathematical “plays with questions” Good at math, logic and problem solving. Needs to classify, categorize, and work with abstractions.

Musical “plays with music” Remembers melody, notices rhythms of life and keeps perfect time. Needs information delivered via melodies, musical notation or rhythm.


Bodily/Kinesthetic “plays with moving” Person in motion, uses body and touches to express thoughts. Needs to interact with space in some way to process and remember information.

  • Visual/Spatial “plays with pictures” Enjoys drawing, designing, and looking to learn. Needs to visualize and manipulate.
  • Interpersonal “plays with socializing” Good at leading, organizing, mediating, communicating, understands and works well with others. Needs to compare and contrast, interview, share ideas and cooperate.
  • Intrapersonal “plays alone” Does better alone, pursuing self defined interests. Projects need to be individual, self-paced and singularly oriented.
active learning and memorization
Active Learning and Memorization:

Mel Silberman(professor of Adult and organizational development at temple university in Philadelphia ) contrasts Active Learning and memorization:

“ Rreal learning is not memorization. Most of what we memorize is lost in hours. Learning can't be swallowed whole. To retain what has been taught, students must chew on it."

Silberman explains:

that learning comes "in waves" through repeated exposures of different kinds involving multiple senses. "When learning is active, the learner is seeking something, an answer to a question, information to solve a problem, or a way to do a job."

the active learning continuum
The Active Learning Continuum

Simple tasks --------------------- Complex tasks

how does active learning work91
How does Active Learning work ?

Active Learning involves input from multiple sources through multiple senses (hearing, seeing, feeling, etc.).

Active Learning involves process, interacting with other people and materials, accessing related schemata in the brain, stimulating multiple areas of the brain to act.Active Learning involves output, requiring students to produce a response or a solution or some evidence of the interactive Learning that is taking place.

cooperative learning
Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning.

Five essential components must be present for small-group learning to be truly cooperative:

  • clear positive interdependence between students
  • face to face interaction
  • individual accountability
  • emphasize interpersonal and small-group skills
  • processes must be in place for group reviewto improve effectiveness
positive interdependence
Positive Interdependence

1. Positive Interdependence  (sink or swim together)

Each group member's efforts are required and indispensable for group success.

Each group member has a unique contribution to make to the joint effort because of his or her resources and/or role and task responsibilities.

individual accountability
Individual Accountability
  • Keep the size of the group small. The smaller the size of the group, the greater the individual accountability may be.
  • Give an individual test to each student.
  • Randomly examine students orally by calling on one student to present his or her group's work.
  • Observe each group and recording the frequency with which each member-contributes to the group's work.
  • Assign one student in each group the role of checker. The checker asks other group members to explain the reasoning and rationale underlying group answers.
  • Have students teach what they learned to someone else.
roles are assigned in a cooperative group
Roles are assigned in a cooperative group.
  • Timer

-responsible for the groups output

-keeps group ‘on track’ and focused

-assigns tasks

-controls the direction of the project

-assigns additional roles, such as ‘experimenter’ or ‘equipment manager’


takes notes for the team

responsible for compiling and presentation of final product

gets supplies for team when necessary

observer reader

-makes sure that everyone in the group is contributing (no sponges!)

ensures that everyone in the group has an equal opportunity to speak

makes sure that all comments are positive

reads material to the group


-makes sure that everyone in the group understands all the material

-ensures that everyone in the group is prepared to make their part of the presentation

1 turned on tuned in cognitive processing build knowledge comprehension
1-Turned On, Tuned InCognitive processing: build knowledge, comprehension


At the beginning of a new topic of study, students groups list facts or concepts they know about the upcoming topic. During the opening lecture on the topic, students listen for facts/concepts they listed. When the teacher addresses an item on a group's list, group members raise their hands and receive points for their team.


1. Introduce the topic title and explain that before you begin lecturing on the topic, you would like to see how much the class already knows about the topic.2. Divide students into groups of equal size.3. Instruct groups to take 7-10 minutes to pool their knowledge and list all the facts they know about the topic.4. Explain that groups will earn group points toward their group grades based on their list of facts.5. As groups develop their lists, circulate and observe the lists. Announce when groups have only one minute left.6. Call time. Tell groups to raise hands during the lecture when the lecture covers a point on the group's fact list. Assign a scorekeeper.7. Deliver the lecture, stopping when group members raise their hands. Allow groups to report what their group said about the fact they listed that corresponds with your lecture point.


This Active Learning strategy gets students turned on to the topic from the start. Students pool their knowledge, share experiences, and learn from one another. Students remain tuned in during the lecture, listening with added interest and incentive. Groups build cohesion by contributing to the knowledge pool to earn points for their group. The teacher benefits from seeing how much the class knows about the topic.

obstacles or barriers that prevent faculty from using active learning strategies
Obstacles or Barriers that prevent faculty fromusing active learning strategies

A. You cannot cover as much course content in the time available.

B. Devising active learning strategies takes too much pre-class preparation;

C. Large class size prevents implementation of active learning strategies;

D. Most instructors think of themselves as being good lecturers;

E. There is a lack of materials or equipment needed to support active learningapproaches;

F. Students resist non-lecture approaches.

problem solving
Problem Solving

Do you want students to solve problems? Make evaluative decisions? Create new approaches?

3 tv commercial cognitive processing integrate apply review concepts
3-TV Commercial Cognitive processing: integrate, apply, review concepts


Student groups create a 30-second TV commercial that illustrates concepts previously covered in class. Mel Silberman suggests using this strategy with students who already know one another as a team building exercise.

  • Divide students into teams of equal size, no larger than 6 per team.2. State the objective you want to accomplish by engaging students in this. 3. Conduct brief warm-up discussion about favorite TV commercials and the characteristics that make a commercial effective (association with a famous person or organization, success, etc.). 4. Instruct teams to develop a 30-second TV commercial that advertises one or more of the major principles or concepts covered in class. Explain that teams will present their commercials to the class by describing, drawing, acting out, or whatever means they choose to communicate. 5. Tell teams they have 15 minutes to work. Facilitate, answering questions and announcing when teams have two minutes remaining for wrap-up. 6. Call time. Invite teams to present their commercials. 7. Applaud the creativity and application of concepts.

This Active Learning strategy engages students in team problem-solving that requires implementation of principles or procedures learned earlier in class.

Key: require students to make a choice as a team and apply principles of the course to justify their choice.


These active learning strategies engaged students in brief, pointed discussion. Everyone in class is actively involved in discussion.

planning an active learning activity
Planning an Active Learning Activity
  • What are your objectives for the activity?
  • Who is interacting? Will students pair up with someone beside them? Or perhaps someone sitting behind/in front of them?
  • Should they pair up with someone with a different background? Someone they don't know yet?
  • When does the activity occur during the class? Beginning? Middle? End? How much time are you willing to spend on it?
  • Will they write down their answers/ideas/questions or just discuss them?
  • Will they turn in the responses or not? If they are asked to turn them in, should they put their names on them?
in closing
In closing…

“Empowering others is at the heart of great teaching. It requires the ability to inspire and engage, mentor and collaborate. Without self-awareness, and particularly emotional awareness, we are unable to be attentive to our own feelings and, therefore, have little chance of understanding and empowering the feelings and motivations of others.”

Shelton, Claudia Marshall. “Emotional Awareness: Fundamental to Effective Teaching.” Independent School. Vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 62-4, 66-71, Spring 2003.

what does research say
What does research say ?

A. The amount of information retained by students declines substantially after ten minutes (Thomas, 1972).

B. Research comparing lecture versus discussion techniques was summarized in (McKeachie, et. al., 1987). The review concluded that after the end of a course, measures of problem solving, thinking, attitude change, or motivation for further learning, the results tend to show differences favoring discussion methods over lecture. (p. 70)

C. Numerous researchers and national reports also discussed the use of active learning strategies in the classroom.

  • Cynthia M. Craig (2001):Making the Connections:Brain –Based Teaching and Learning. Presented at NADE
  • Dr.Rita Smilkstein (2001): How the Brain Learns:Research, Theory and Classroom Application. Presented at NADE
  • Diana Hestwood (2000):Low-Cost, Low-Tech Ways to Effectively Reach Developmental Algebra Students. Presented at NADE
  • Pat Wolfe, Ed.d (Aug, 2001) Brain Research and Education: Fad or Foundation?
  • Marion Diamond, (2001) Brain Growth and Enrichment.
web based resources
Web based resources:
  • Ryder, M. (Constructivism
  • Hsiao, J. .(n.d.). CSCL theory. Learning Technology Center, University of Texas at Austin. Available from the Internet at
  • Mindtools Lpt. (2007). Brainstorming. Availble from the Internet at