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Preparing Faculty to Incorporate Active Learning. Peggy Weissinger, Ed.D. National Institute for New Faculty Developers June 27, 2005. NINFD 2005. Goals of this session. Identify alternatives to your lecturing in faculty workshops

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preparing faculty to incorporate active learning

Preparing Faculty to Incorporate Active Learning

Peggy Weissinger, Ed.D.

National Institute for New Faculty Developers

June 27, 2005

NINFD 2005

goals of this session
Goals of this session
  • Identify alternatives to your lecturing in faculty workshops
  • Increase your collection of instructional methods that encourage active learning
  • Experience some learner-centered, active learning techniques that faculty will be able to incorporate in their own teaching
what s wrong with lecture

What’s wrong with lecture?

Percentage of lecture content recorded by student note-takers during 50-minute lecture.





(J. McLeish, cited in in Penner 1984)

a quick review passive and active learning
A Quick Review:Passive and Active Learning
  • People learn both passively and actively.
  • Passive learning takes place when learners take on the role of “receptacles of knowledge”; that is, they do not directly participate in the learning process.
  • Active learning is more likely to take place when learners are doing something besides listening. (Ryans and Martin, 1989)
less engagement
Less engagement


Faculty Control

Learner Control

more engagement
More engagement

Role Playing


Faculty Control

Learner Control

how do we convince faculty to use active learning
How do we Convince Faculty to Use Active Learning?
  • Use active learning techniques in all your workshops. (Will help faculty learn how to facilitate the methods.)
  • Use activities that are quick and easy. (Will illustrate the success of low prep-high return activities.)
  • Encourage faculty to use an active learning technique on the first day of class (Sets an expectation of participation from the very beginning of the semester.)
let s try a few
Let’s Try a Few!
  • Active Learning Option Game
  • Minute Paper
    • What concerns do you have about faculty participating in your workshop activities?
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Affinity Diagram
rules for brainstorming
Rules for Brainstorming
  • Everyone’s participation is critical.
  • No criticism or judgment of ideas.
  • We need quantity! Be a free-wheeler with your ideas.
  • Record it.

For today’s session, one idea/phrase per post-it.

focus question
Focus Question


While active learning has the potential to revolutionize instruction, there are many reasons why it doesn’t take place. What are barriers to active learning in the classroom?

sample focus question for an active learning workshop
Sample Focus Question for an Active Learning Workshop

Think into the future:

As students leave the university, what are the skills, strategies, concepts, aptitudes, and personal qualities that they will need to be a productive and successful citizen in the coming years?

enhancing lectures quickly
Enhancing lectures quickly
  • 20-30 minute lecture--students write for five minutes--small groups clarify and elaborate
  • Minute paper (e.g. The most important concept covered in today’s workshop is . . .)
  • Muddiest point (e.g. I am still confused about . . .)
  • Think-pair-share
  • Sentence completion (e.g. Analysis of the research literature suggests that students must do more than just listen. They must because. . .)
  • Surveys
where do i start
Where do I start?
  • Create learning objectives for the workshop session and the activity.
  • Plan the activity.
  • Articulate your objectives to the faculty, in verbal and written form.
  • Debrief the activity. Why the process? What did they learn?
  • Assess the activity.
  • Refine the objectives, activity, and assessment for next workshop.
the bottom line student involvement is the key to learning
The bottom line:Student involvement is the key to learning

Research supports this:

  • “The theory. . . students learn by becoming involved. . . seems to explain most of the empirical knowledge gained over the years about environmental influences on student development. . . What I mean by involvement is neither mysterious nor esoteric. Quite simply, student involvement refers to the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the academic experience.” – Astin, 1985
  • “Analysis of the research literature. . . suggests that students must do more than just listen. They must read, write, discuss, or be engaged in solving problems.” --Bonwell & Eison,
  • “The body of research on the impacts of the college academic experience is extensive. The strongest general conclusion [is that] the greater the student’s involvement or engagement in academic work, the greater his or her level of knowledge acquisition.” -- Pasquerilla & Terenzini, 1991
  • Need to demonstrate alternatives to lecturing.
  • Workshop techniques should be varied to accommodate illustrate alternatives to lecturing.
  • Instructional methods should encourage active learning; advantages outweigh limitations.
  • DON’T get caught up with “coverage” issues!
preparing faculty to incorporate active learning1

Preparing Faculty to Incorporate Active Learning

Contact Information:

Peggy Weissinger, Ed.D.

(703) 323-4289

Director, Extended Learning Institute

Distance Education Center

Northern Virginia Community College