Queen's University

Ellis Hall

Active Learning Classrooms

Active Learning Classrooms

site header

Active Learning Strategies

Active learning can be achieved through a variety of instructional strategies. Decisions about which strategy to use will consider several dimensions:

  • the amount of class time required
  • the degree of structure and planning
  • the pattern of interaction (i.e. between faculty and students or among students)
  • students’ prior knowledge of the subject matter

 Examples of active learning strategies can be organized into similar categories used by Prince (2004) in his review of the literature. 

Collaborative and Cooperative Learning

Active Learning Activities for groups (PDF, 272kB)

Cooperative Learning in an Organic Chemistry Lecture (Paulson, 1999) (PDF, 1005kB)

Cooperative Learning (Instructional Strategies Online)

Using Groups in Classes and encouraging study groups (University of California, Berkeley)

Cooperative Learning: Students working in Small Groups (Stanford University) (PDF, 23kB)

Working in Groups: A Note to Faculty and a Quick Guide for Students (Harvard University)

Team-based Learning Collaborative


Problem-based Strategies

Getting Started with Problem-based Learning (Microsoft Office)

Case Studies for Learning (Carnegie Mellon)

Teaching Tips for Case Assignments (Penn State)

Problem-based Learning: Features, Structure, Assessment (Stanford University) (PDF, 66kB)

Teaching Problem-solving skills (University of North Carolina)

Problem-based Learning for the 21st Century (BIE)

Motivating Students through Project-based Service Learning (The Journal)

Inquiry-based Learning (North Dakota Teaching with Technology Initiative)

Structured Controversy: Inquiry-based Learning in place of traditional Group Presentations (Archer-Kuhn, 2013) (PDF, 490kB)