Active Learning 

General Introduction Implementing in Large Classes (Cornell)
Lori Breslow Articles (MIT) Problem Based Learning
Discipline Specific Sites  VARK Learning Style Questionnaire

Can Akkan's  Presentation (June 3, 2005) PowerPoint file

A site from National Teaching and Learning Forum (U.S.).  Article titled “Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom.” discussing What is Active Learning and Why Is It Important?, How Can Active Learning Be Incorporated in the Classroom?, What Are the Barriers?, What Conclusions Should Be Drawn and Recommendations Made?, and a list of selected references.

“Active and Cooperative Learning.” page is put together by Richard Felder, Hoechst Celanese Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University. There is an extensive list here of publications by Richard Felder. There are also video clip excerpts of interviews with Dr. Felder, as well as a list of other active/cooperative learning web sites to visit.

The Center for Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Delaware offers “Good Practice Uses Active Learning Techniques.” This site offers an in-depth definition of active learning.

"Pitt faculty engage students: Research supports active learning." Alan Lesgold, professor of psychology and intelligent systems, and executive associate director of Pitt's Learning Research and Development Center, was interviewed and explains the research on active learning and ways to apply it in the classroom. 

This link provides access to a variety of resources on active and collaborative learning. Categories include: faculty essays, case studies, general resources, class discussion, portfolio evaluation, and lab activities, as well as field trips and simulations.


Implementing in Large Classes                                                                                                                                          Top

From Cornell University: Information on adding active learning to large classes. Some sections are “Active Learning: Getting Students to Work and Think in the Classroom,” “Implementing Active Learning in the Classroom,” “Clicking with Large Classes,” and more.

Cornell's site on leading discussions in classrooms, with many links for “Tips on leading stimulating discussions,” “Alternatives to large group discussions,” and adding active learning to large classes. 


Articles by Lori Breslow on active learning (from the faculty newsletter at MIT)                                                      Top

From MIT's faculty newsletter from their Teaching & Learning Laboratory, there's an article on "New Research Points to the Importance of Using Active Learning in the Classroom," by Lori Breslow. "In all this, one finding, in particular, is so consistent that it should be singled out for special attention. Put simply, it is this: Researchers have seen that when students themselves are actively involved in the learning process, their learning improves."

“Active Learning, Part II: Suggestions for Using Active Learning Techniques in the Classroom.” This article includes “Peer Instruction: Active Learning in Large Lectures,” “The Muddiest Point in the Lecture,” and “In-Class Group Work.”

The first of three “Teach Talk” columns is entitled “Transforming Novice Problem Solvers Into Experts.” Sections include “The Components of Problem Solving,” “What Do the Experts Do,” and “Teaching Problem Solving.”

The second of the three articles mentioned above is “The Contribution of Constructivism.” Sections of this article include “Meaningful Learning,” “Instructional Strategies and Techniques,” and “One Simple Tactic: Address Common Misconceptions.”

The final article, “The Ecology of Learning: Several Streams of Research Take a Broad Approach to Understanding the Learning Process,” includes “Development in Context,” and “Situated Learning,”


The following sites discuss Problem-Based Learning, another form of active learning.                                          Top

Peter Ommundsen offers 20 case examples in biology, and outlines the method for instructors.

From San Diego State University there are numerous articles on problem-based learning, from definition, advantages, and barriers, to obstacles to overcome, assessment, and creating an appropriate problem.

The Problem-Based Learning Center (Samford University), offers the who, what, when, where, why, and how of problem-based learning. Their newsletter “PBL Insight” has many articles (you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader). There’s a lot of good information here!

The Chemical Engineering Department at McMaster has a site, “Problem-based Learning, especially in the context of large classes.” There are many links here including an entire book, “Problem-Based Learning: Helping your students gain the most from PBL.” This book is free on the Web and you can print and copy any part of the book that you want.

The University of Delaware site has sample PBL problems for Biology, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Criminal Justice, and Physics, and also includes links articles in “About Teaching,” the on-line newsletter from the Center on Teaching Effectiveness. (Thank you Martin Stokes for finding this resource.)
Discipline Specific Sites                                                                                                                                                Top




From Clark University this site contains many sample lessons but no "how to." Sample lessons are interesting, however.

VARK Learning Style Questionnaire                                                                                                                        Top

VARK is the acronym for Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic. You may want to visit this site and answer 13 simple questions to experience how you can help your students determine their learning style preference. Once your questionnaire is scored, the site offers tips on how best to deal with your learning style. You must go to the copyright page, but there is no charge for this, then you can send your students to answer the same questionnaire and find out the breakdown of learning styles for your classes.