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Active Learning Classrooms

Active Learning Classrooms

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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

Focus on Active Learning: Active Learning Strategies (PDF, 599KB) Included here are strategies designed to support students’ active learning in a variety of contexts: lecture; tutorial/seminar; and team- or group-based learning. All strategies can be adapted to multiple contexts, face-to-face or virtual, and are presented simply as catalysts to your own creativity. The single most critical factor in selecting a strategy is ensuring that it directly supports the intended learning outcomes.

Collaborative and Cooperative Learning

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

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

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

Team-based Learning Collaborative

Problem-based Strategies

Case Studies for Learning (Carnegie Mellon)

Teaching Tips for Case Assignments (Penn State)

Teaching Problem-solving skills (University of North Carolina)

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)


Assessments for teamwork: Team Q

Team-Q was developed for self and peer assessment of individual's teamwork skills. It is designed for undergraduate education as a practical method for assessing teamwork as a learning outcome. The following describes teamwork behaviors and frequency based assessment scale. Student's report on a five point scale how often their peers (and self) demonstrate each of the behaviors. The research was conducted in one of the Active Learning Classrooms.