Resources for Educators

Teaching Tip

From the Teacher’s Aide Newsletter

2018 November

Active Learning Techniques

As educators in primarily experiential programs, we know the value of active learning in our hands-on classrooms. But when it comes to our more traditional lecture courses (science, research, business, etc.), we may need to develop some additional techniques for increasing the student engagement in those classrooms as well. Here are a few ideas from Duke University’s Learning Innovation team.

  1. Think-Pair-Share: Start with an open-ended question. Give students a couple minutes to think and write a response. Then, have them pair up to discuss their responses. After a few minutes of discussion, regroup and have a person from each pair share with the group.
  2. Muddiest Point Paper: At the end of class, have the students write about the least clear point (muddiest) from the day’s session. Have them turn in their responses anonymously as they leave, and address those points at the beginning of the next session.
  3. Peer Instruction: Begin with a conceptual question. Have students think and write down an answer. Then, pair them up to try to convince each other that their answer is correct. Regroup and ask them to write down an answer again. Talk about how many people changed their answers based on the pair discussions and why.
  4. Working in Groups: Use cooperative activities, like the Gallery Walk or the Jigsaw. In the Gallery Walk, groups move through stations building on the solutions or discussions begun by other groups. In the Jigsaw, each team works on separate but related assignments. Once all team members have prepared their assignments, the teams are re-divided into mixed groups, with one member from each team in each new group. The groups then work on a new assignment, pulling together all the elements from the original assignments, painting the larger picture that meets the overall learning objectives.
  5. Case Studies: Assign different case studies to different groups, working on real-world conditions, discussions, and ethical dilemmas. Have them come together and teach each other what they learned from the process.

For more on these techniques and others, read the entire article and visit the recommended resources.