Active Learning

Active learning is a general description of any instructional strategy that is used in the classroom to engage students in considering the consequences of their learning or to apply their knowledge to solving problems. This is in contrast to traditional lecturing where the professor does all the talking delivering course content which students passively receive. There are many examples of active learning: think-pair-share, minute papers, peer instruction (polling), team-based learning, problem-based learning, case-based learning, among others. Many of these structured active learning strategies require students to prepare outside of the classroom (e.g. assigned reading or podcasts) in order to be able to apply their learning inside the classroom. The right mix of lecturing and active learning will vary by students' year level and by course objectives as well as an instructor's past experience teaching the course.

Read (blog posts)

I Want to Be an Intellectual Coach, Not a PEZ Dispenser  

I Want to Be an Intellectual Coach, Not a PEZ Dispenser

May 10, 2018 
Neil Haave shares the ideas that resonated with him following José Bowen's appearance at the Festival of Teaching and Learning.

Reasoning with Student Resistance

Reasoning with Student Resistance

April 13, 2017
The next time you explain a group activity to your class and are met with questions like “Do we have to?” consider trying this.

Listen (podcast)

Teaching PLUS

Resistance to Active Learning

April 3, 2019
Tried active learning in your class only to have students scoff at the idea? Don't give up hope!
Dr. Maryellen Weimer, professor emerita of teaching and learning at Penn State Berks discusses the use of active learning in the post-secondary classroom.

View (presentations)

José Antonio Bowen  

Nudges, the Learning Economy and a New 3Rs: Redesigning for Student Relationships, Resilience and Reflection

How Moving Technology out of your College Classroom will Improve Student Learning (PDF)

May 4, 2018
Festival of Teaching and Learning Keynote
José Antonio Bowen, PhD, author of Teaching Naked

Maryellen Weimer

Participation, Five Reasons Why and Five Ways to Make It Happen

Resources on Participation and Classroom Interaction (DOC)

May 4, 2017
Festival of Teaching and Learning Keynote
Maryellen Weimer, Professor Emerita of Teaching and Learning at Penn State Berks


Want to discuss ways to facilitate active learning with your own students? Or interested in teaching in CTL's technology-enriched active learning classroom?

Request a pedagogical consultation by filling out CTL's Request for Consultation Service Form.