Active Teaching and Learning Techniques

Contributed by:
Jonathan James
It includes:
- The benefits and challenges of active learning
- Some active learning strategies to add to your teaching toolbox that you can use to engage students in the learning process for your particular course
- Plan strategies to combine lecturing and active learning
1. Active Teaching & Learning Techniques
Donna Ziegenfuss, Ed.D.
Associate Librarian, Marriott Library
2. Objectives of This Presentation
• Describe benefits and challenges of active
• Find some active learning strategies to add to
your teaching toolbox that you can use to engage
students in the learning process for your
particular course
• Plan strategies to combine lecturing and active
3. Definition of Active Learning
• Definition by the Center of Research on Teaching &
Learning: “Active learning is a process whereby
students engage in activities, such as reading,
writing, discussion, or problem solving that promote
analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content.
Cooperative learning, problem-based learning, and
the use of case methods and simulations are some
approaches that promote active learning”. ( )
4. • What are you currently doing in your
class that would be considered active
learning based on what the definition of
active learning?
• What challenges have you encountered
related to active learning?
• What benefits have you seen?
Engaging Students in the STEM Classroom May 9-11, 2016
5. Good Teaching Strategy (Fink, 2003)
Incorporates the principles of good learning
processes, e.g.:
• Builds on students’ prior knowledge
• Finds a connection to something they value
• Enables students to dialogue about the
meaning and use of the content
• Uses both right brain & left brain activities
• Enables/encourages different learning styles
6. “Significant Learning” (Fink, 2003),
Students should:
• Understand and remember the key concepts,
terms, relationship, etc.
• Know how to use the content.
• Be able to relate this subject to other subjects.
• Understand the personal and social implications
of knowing about this subject.
• Value this subject and further learning about it.
• Know how to keep on learning about this
subject, after the course is over.
7. Student-Centered Focus
• Focus is on the what and how the students are
learning not on what the teacher is teaching
• Includes more input and dialog from students
during learning process and therefore more
student ownership for their own learning
• Uses active not passive learning approaches
• Results in developing a community of learners –
all (faculty and learners) learning together
Weimer, M. (2002) Learner-centered teaching. Jossey-Bass
8. Strategies for
Student-Centered Learning
Teachers do:
1. Less learning tasks (students need to do it
2. Less telling; students do more discovering
3. More course design work
4. More modeling and sharing
5. More to get students learning from and with
each other
6. Work to create conducive climates for learning
7. More with student feedback
Weimer’s 7 Principles
9. Strategies for
Student-Centered Learning
Learners do:
1. More focusing on their learning & less on their
2. More connecting of the content for themselves
3. More discovering on their own
4. More participating in class
5. More learning from each other
6. More self and peer assessment
7. Provide more feedback to the instructor
Weimer’s 7 Principles
10. Student-Centered Teaching
Maryellen Weimer (2002)
5 Key Principles for Changing Practice:
• The Function of Content
• Role of the Teacher
• Balance of Power
• Responsibility for Learning
• The Purpose and Processes for Evaluation
Maryellen Weimer’s Teaching Professor Blog
Faculty Focus Topics and Free Reports
11. The Function of Content
Teacher- Student-
Centered: Centered:
•About “transmitting” • About “using” the
or covering information content, not just about
or content passively receiving it
•Controlled by teacher – • Also about how to
instructor is the content learn, and reflection on
expert the process of learning
• Students construct their
own knowledge
12. The Role of the Instructor
Teacher- Student-
Centered: Centered:
• Teacher is the “Sage •Teacher is the “Guide
on the Stage” – center on the Side” when
of attention online
• Only “expert” in the •Instructor is a resource
classroom for learning – not the only
• Focus is on grading expert
students and judging •Model & mentor
13. Balance of Power
Teacher-Centered: Student-Centered:
•A classroom hierarchy •A community of learners –
climate more collaborative
•No questioning, flexibility •Students have more control
•Teacher makes all decisions over their own learning and do
more to either help/hinder their
•Higher expectation for the
students & can be harder for
the students
14. Responsibility for Learning
Teacher-Centered: Student-Centered:
•Teacher provides content; •Students partner with
student responsible to learn instructor in the learning
it process (work together to
•Laying blame - students say improve learning)
it is the teacher’s fault they •Students take some
did not learn; Teacher says responsibility for their own
they taught the material but learning process
students didn’t learn it • Self-assessing
• Learning other skills
– beyond facts
15. The Purpose & Process of
Evaluation Student-
Centered: Centered:
•Summative assessment •Students learn to assess
only (autopsy model) their own learning and
•Instructor judges learning process
•Instructor “gives out •Self, peer, and expert
grades” perspectives (multiple
•Evaluation is separate methods of assessment)
from the learning •Students “earn grades”
•Assessment integrated
with the learning process
16. The Bigger Picture and
Focus on The Process:
The ‘Why’ and the Rationale
•Help students learn how to learn, provide additional support, and
information about the process
– Explain why you teach the way you do
•Guide students in reflection on their own change in learning, thinking,
and perspectives
– Reflections, and formative feedback (ex. surveys, minute papers,
muddiest point)
•Gather continual formative data across the course experience and
make adjustments as needed to meet personal needs of faculty and
17. Challenges for a Student-Centered
Online Classroom
• Time constraints
• Student resistance
• More work for both students and instructor
• Can be more threatening & scary for both
instructors and students
• May require more developmental
approaches in the classroom for students
lacking confidence
18. For significant learning to happen, instructors
have 4 responsibilities:
To be a:
• Content Expert – Sharing of Expertise
• Communicator – Facilitator of discussion
(student/student, student/teacher)
• Classroom Manager – setting classroom
• Designer of the Learning Environments
19. r -
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Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating
significant learning
environments. Jossey-Bass
21. Revised
Blooms Taxonomy
Anderson & Krathwohl (2001)
Fink’s Learning Taxonomy, 2003, 2013
24. Model of
25. Effective Lecturing
Delivering Effective Lectures | P A P E R # 5 • D E C E M B E R 1 9 9 6 | Richard L. Sullivan, PhD - US Agency of International
26. Strategies for Active Lecturing
Traditional Lecturing Active Lecturing
• Instructor talks & students • Instructor talks with periodic
listens with little interruptions pauses for structured activities
• Student concentration can be • As student concentration wane,
observed dropping - 10-15 min switch to short in-class activity
• Instructor‘s questions are • Instructor‘s questions require
largely rhetorical responses
• Student-to-student talk is • Student-to-student talk is
discouraged encouraged
• Students listen and take notes • Students often work with
independently partners or in groups
• Instructor generates questions • Instructor floats and provides
and leads discussion based on feedback and questions to
his/her direction groups based on their work
27. 8 Steps to Active Lecturing
1.Know your audience
2.Have a map to follow (lecture outline requires
planning upfront)
3.Grab the students’ attention (the beginning) - Be
enthusiastic about topic and start on time
4.Recognize students’ attention span (15-20
28. 8 Steps to Active Lecturing cont
5.Plan an activity for students (the middle)
6.Use visual aids/voice and movements – to
7.Have a conclusion (the end)
8.Have students do something with the lecture
material (accountability)