Active Learning Faculty Resources
An alphabetical, annotated listing of all resources provided on this page is below.
Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers.
This seminal book gives a large number of classroom assessment techniques to facilitate active learning. While the origins of some techniques predate the book, Angelo and Cross popularized many of today’s most well-known CATs.
Baepler, P., Walker, J. D. and Driessen, M. (2014). It’s not about seat time: Blending, flipping, and efficiency in active learning classrooms. Computers & Education, 78, 227-236. Doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2014.06.006
The study found that an active learning classroom could reduce faculty student contact time by two-thirds and student learning outcomes were still just as good or significantly better (in one comparison) to the traditional classroom. Student perceptions of the classroom space and learning environment were also more positive.
Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013, June). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. In ASEE National Conference Proceedings, Atlanta, GA (Vol. 30, No. 9, pp. 1-18).
This paper analyses existing research and finds most scholarly work on flipped classrooms focuses on student perceptions and uses singe-group study designs. Reports of student perceptions are somewhat mixed, but generally positive.
Bromley, P. (2013). Active learning strategies for diverse learning styles: Simulations are only one method. Political Science & Politics, 46 (4), 818-822.
A Political Science professor evaluated the impact of several different types of active learning strategies on the students’ engagement – case studies, enhanced lecture, in-class writing, large group discussion, small group work, and simulations – and found that other methods were preferred over simulations.
Brookfield, S. (1987). Developing critical thinkers. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
This book discusses a large number of critical assessment techniques for students in engage in critical thinking, including Circle of Voices.
Chin, C. K., Khor, K. H., & Teh, T. K. (2015). Is Gallery Walk an Effective Teaching and Learning Strategy for Biology?. In Biology Education and Research in a Changing Planet (pp. 55-59). Springer, Singapore.
One of many scholarly works that examines the impact of Gallery Walks, a teaching strategy where students share their work with other students, and then view and offer feedback on the work of others.
Chiu, P. H. P. and Cheng, S. H. (2017). Effects of active learning classrooms on student learning: a two-year empirical investigation on student perceptions and academic performance. Higher Education Research & Development, 36 (2), 269-279.
Survey and GPA data collected from more than 35,000 undergraduate students was analyzed to test student performance and perceptions in active learning classrooms. Instruction in these spaces positively impacted student creativity, innovation, and course performance at all levels of academic ability.
Cooper, K. M., Ashley, M. and Brownell, S. E. (2017). A Bridge to Active Learning: A Summer Bridge Program Helps Students Maximize Their Active-Learning Experiences and the Active-Learning Experiences of Others. Cell Biology Education, 16 (1), ar17. doi:10.1187/cbe.16-05-0161
Students in a summer bridge program for introductory biology showed a positive response and understanding of active learning strategies in the classroom. “Specifically, Bridge students seemed to be more aware of their own learning gains from participating in active learning.”
Cothran, D. J., & Kulinna, P. H. (2006). Students’ perspectives on direct, peer, and inquiry teaching strategies. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 25(2), 166-181.
This article provides an overview of teaching strategies with and without peer involvement. It includes student perspectives on the various approaches.
Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, E. (2001). Peer instruction: Ten years of experience and results. American Journal of Physics, 69(9), 970–977
Peer instruction in calculus and algebra-based physics courses for nonmajors resulted in increased student mastery of both conceptual reasoning and quantitative problem solving.
Daniel, Kristy L. (2016). Impacts of Active Learning on Student Outcomes in Large-Lecture Biology Courses. The American Biology Teacher, 78 (8), 651-655. Doi/full/10.1525/abt.2016.78.8.651
Two large introductory biology classes were paired, with one using two specific active learning strategies and the other not using any active learning strategies. The cooperative pre-exam discussion reduced feelings of anxiety, and the scenario-based collaborative activities yielded better learning gains.
Devraj, R., Butler, L. M., Gupchup, G. V. and Poirier, T. I. (2010). Active-Learning Strategies to Develop Health Literacy Knowledge and Skills. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74, (8), 1-9.
Active-learning activities such as identifying informal signs of low health literacy, conducting mock patient counseling sessions, rating the readability of drug information, analyzing information in drug advertisements, and writing patient education materials were incorporated into a pharmacy course with positive results for students.
Fang, B. (2017, August 28). Flipping the Flipped Classroom. Educause Review, Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/8/flipping-the-flipped-classroom.
The author advocates for active lecturing rather than throwing away lecture all together. The article explains strategies for active learning and better ways of using video for feedback on student work.
Favero, T. G. (2011). Active review sessions can advance student learning. Advances in Physiology Education, 35 (3), 247-248.
A professor reflects on developing an active review session and explains what worked best for improving the students’ learning through the review, such as helping students prioritize knowledge and develop thinking skills.
Felder, R. M., & Brent, R. (2009). Active learning: An introduction. ASQ Higher Education Brief, 2(4), 1-5.
This article defines active learning and outlines basic active learning formats instructors can easily implement in existing courses. It also includes a section of frequently asked questions.
Foldnes, N. (2016). The flipped classroom and cooperative learning: Evidence from a randomized experiment. Active Learning in Higher Education, 17 (1), 39-49. Doi:10.1177/146978741561672
Pretest, posttest, and final exam scores were analyzed between a flipped course with cooperative activities, a flipped course without cooperative activities, and a lecture course. Results showed that students in the flipped course with cooperative learning activities had higher learning gains than students in the traditional lecture class.
Fratto, V. A. (2011). Enhance student learning with PowerPoint games: using twenty questions to promote active learning in managerial accounting. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education, 7 (2), 2011, 13-20.
An interactive Power Point game was created to test students’ knowledge and give them immediate feedback in a managerial accounting class. Students reported positive attitudes about the innovative use of technology and their engagement in the material.
Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410–8415.
In this meta-analysis, Scott Freeman and colleagues analyzed 225 experimental studies that documented student performance in classes that used at least some active learning versus traditional lecturing. When comparing active learning to traditional lecture, student performance on exams, concept inventories, or other assessments was almost half of a standard deviation higher for active learning (standard mean difference was 0.47, 𝑍=9.781,𝑃≪0.001). On average students in traditional lecture courses are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in courses with some active learning (33.8% failure rate for traditional lecturing and 21.8% failure rate for some active learning).
Gomez Zaccarelli, F., Schindler, A. K., Borko, H., & Osborne, J. (2018). Learning from professional development: a case study of the challenges of enacting productive science discourse in the classroom. Professional Development in Education, 1-17.
This article reviews a case study in which instructors use “idea line-up,” where students line up in a continuum according to their level of agreement. It evaluates the results of the activity.
Green, S. K., Smith III, J., & Brown, E. K. (2007). Using Quick Writes as a Classroom Assessment Tool: Prospects and Problems. Journal of Educational Research & Policy Studies, 7(2), 38-52.
The authors explain how quick writing can assess students’ prior knowledge, evaluate understanding, and engage students in the topic at hand. Writing can be graded or ungraded.
Haak, D.C., HilleRisLambers, J., Pitre, E., and Freeman, S. (2011). Increased structure and active learning reduce the achievement gap in introductory biology. Science 332, 1213–1216.
Active learning strategies such as daily and weekly practice, problem solving, data analysis, and other higher-order cognitive skills improved performance of all students and has a disproportionate benefit for capable but poorly prepared students.
Hake, R. R. (1998). Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. American Journal of Physics, 66(1), 64–74.
Using pre/post survey data, this study finds that interactive-engagement methods result in an average gain of conceptual understanding almost two standard deviations above that of traditional introductory physics courses.
Handelsman, J., Miller, S., and Pfund, C. (2007). Scientific teaching. New York: W.H. Freeman.
This books discusses tried and true teaching methods that engage students and maintain a high level of scientific rigor. One such strategy is sorting strips, also sometimes called strip sequence.
Harvey, S., & Goudvis, A. (2007). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension for understanding and engagement. Stenhouse Publishers.
Summative text reviewing a number of teaching strategies, including “turn and talk”.
Hawks, S. J. (2014). The Flipped Classroom: Now or Never? AANA Journal, 82 (4), 264-269.
The author synthesizes evidence for the effectiveness of the flipped classroom model in general and for specific medical classrooms. Strategies for creating a flipped model for the medical classroom are provided.
Hung, H. T. (2015). Flipping the classroom for English language learners to foster active learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 28 (1), 81-96. Doi:10.1080/09588221.2014.967701
The results of a quasi-experimental design of three flipped classroom models using WebQuest model showed that the structured and semi-structured flipped models were more effective instructional designs had greater impact on student learning gains over the non-flipped model.
Hung, H. T. (2017) Clickers in the flipped classroom: bring your own device (BYOD) to promote student learning. Interactive Learning Environments, 25 (8), 983-995.
This quasi-experimental research compared students’ flipped learning experiences with and without clicker use. Results indicated that the gamified lessons had positive impacts on learning in the language learning classroom.
Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T. and Smith, K. A. (1998). Cooperative Learning Returns to College. What Evidence Is There That It Works? Change: The magazine of higher education, 30 (4), 26-35. Doi:10.1080/00091389809602629
This foundational article explains the theoretical framework of collaborative learning then provides a meta-analysis of the research on collaborative learning at the time.
Khourey-Bower, C. (2011, April/May). Active learning strategies: The top 10. The Science Teacher. pp. 38-42.
A science teacher explains 10 tips, centered around conceptual change, for implementing active learning in the science classroom.
Kim, D. (2011, March 11). Using Google Forms for Student Engagement and Learning. Educause Review. https://er.educause.edu/articles/2011/3/using-google-forms-for-student-engagement-and-learning
Lagging student engagement and lower academic performance prompted the author to redesign her class to use Google Forms for engagement through lectures and immediate feedback on students’ understanding of the material. Students reported greater engagement using Google Forms.
Kinsella, G. K., Mahon, C. and Lillis, S. (2017). Using pre-lecture activities to enhance learner engagement in a large group setting. Active Learning in Higher Education, 18 (3), 231–242.
Screencast and multiple-choice quizzes were created to measure students’ prior knowledge in a large biochemistry class. However, researchers found students used them more frequently for review and to self-test their knowledge, which had benefits on improved test scores.
Kortz, K. M., Smay, J. J., & Murray, D. P. (2008). Increasing learning in introductory geoscience courses using lecture tutorials. Journal of Geoscience Education, 56(3), 280-290.
Lecture tutorials, 10-20 worksheets students complete in groups, were developed to follow lectures in a geoscience course. The use of lecture tutorials showed a significant gain in scores on multiple choice questions related to the lecture.
Lohr, K. D., & Haley, K. J. (2018). Using Biographical Prompts to Build Community in an Online Graduate Course: An Adult Learning Perspective. Adult Learning, 29(1), 11-19.
To build a sense of community online and combat the sense of student isolation, the authors describe the process and outcomes of using an autobiographical memory exercise for an online class. The exercise created a stronger sense of community and increased learning and active engagement for the students who participated.
Lyman, F. (1981). The responsive class discussion. In A. S. Anderson (Ed.), Mainstreaming Digest (pp. 109-113). College Park, MD: University of Maryland College of Education.
The original work describing “think-pair-share,” this research describes the value of an instructor posing a question, giving students 30 seconds or more to think about it, and then having them turn to a partner to discuss. The entire class then has a follow-up discussion.
Michael, J. (2006). Where’s the evidence that active learning works? Advances in Physiology Education, 30 (4), 159-67.
This literature analysis focuses on active learning studies in several disciplines. The author then analyzes the implications for teaching in the sciences.
Mills, B. J. (2012). Active Learning Strategies in Face-to-Face Courses. [Idea Paper #53]. The IDEA Center. Retrieved from www.ideaedu.org/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/IDEA%20Papers/IDEA%20Papers/PaperIDEA_53.pdf [PDF]
The author explains how faculty can lay the ground work for active learning that will make its implementation easier. The author also focuses on three-step interview, think-pair-share, visible quiz, value line, and send/pass-a-problem active learning strategies.
Moffett, J. (2015) Twelve tips for “flipping” the classroom. Medical Teacher, 37 (4), 1-6.
Tips on how to design and implement a flipped classroom model are offered by an experienced educator. The advice is a blend of experience and research support with a focus on the medical classroom.
Morosan, C., Dawson, M., and Whalen, E. A. (2017). Using active learning activities to increase student outcomes in an information technology course. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education, 29 (4), 147-157.
The redesign of an introductory lecture-based information technology course created interaction between students and fostered deeper understanding through group discussion and collaborative learning.
Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of student centered learning, 2(1), 9-34.
This articles gives strategies and tips for team-based learning courses, including team formation, team rules, peer evaluation, troubleshooting, and more.
Ogle, D. (1986). K-W-L: A Teaching Model That Develops Active Reading of Expository Text. The Reading Teacher, 39(6), 564-570. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20199156
The author outlines the Know-Want-Learn technique, by which learners document what they know, want to know, and learn in this active learning exercise.
Park, Elisa L. and Choi, Bo Keum. (2014). Transformation of classroom spaces: traditional versus active learning classroom in colleges.” Higher Education, 68, (5), 749-771.
The researchers studied the educational effects of the traditional classroom and the active learning classroom. In the traditional classroom, only particular parts of the room engaged students in the learning process and only students with high GPAs were more motivated to learn. In the active learning classroom, no students were at a “positional disadvantage” and all students reported feeling more inspired to learn in the active learning classroom. Any gaps in learning attitudes were lessened in the active learning classroom.
Petersen, C., & Gorman, K. (2014). Strategies to Address Common Challenges When Teaching in an Active Learning Classroom. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, (137), pp. 63-70.
This article addresses common challenges for faculty new to active learning teaching, including course design, integrating active learning activities, focusing students, and use of technology.
Phillips, J. (2005). Strategies for Active Learning online. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 36 (2), 77-83.
The author investigates the methods of implementing active learning strategies in an online class and how different generations of students may respond it. Different types of feedback are evaluated and the potential impact on student engagement online.
Prince, M. (2004). Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(July), 223–231.
Cited well over 1000 times, this article is a seminal piece of the active learning literature. Prince takes time to acknowledge and discuss the challenges faculty face interpreting the literature on active learning and his review is carefully attentive to these challenges. Prince sites numerous studies whose findings support the conclusion that active learning leads to increases on exam and concept inventory scores. Prince concludes that while results may vary in strength, there is adequate support for the efficacy of all forms of active learning.
Remon, J., Sebastian, V., Romero, E, and Arauzo, J. (2017). Effect of using smartphones as clickers and tablets as digital whiteboards on students’ engagement and learning. Active Learning in Higher Education, 18 (2), 173-187. Doi:10.1177/1469787417707618
Researchers analyzed the outcomes from the use of two active teaching methods compared to traditional instruction methods. Results demonstrated increased engagement, higher learning performance, and higher student satisfaction when using tablets and smartphones for interactive whiteboards and clickers.
Smith, C. P. and Kenlan, K. (2016). Invention Activities Support Statistical Reasoning. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 21, (6), 358-363. doi:10.5951/mathteacmiddscho.21.6.0358
A sixth-grade teacher and a university researcher developed a problem-solving framework teaching strategy to assist students’ active processes of forming questions, collecting data, choosing and applying methods of analysis, and interpreting results.
Smith, K. A., Sheppard, S. D., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2005). Pedagogies of Engagement: Classroom-Based Practices. Journal of Engineering Education, 94(1), 87–101.
This paper focuses on classroom-based pedagogies of student engagement, with most centering around cooperative and problem-based learning. It includes suggestions for redesigning engineering courses.
Springer, L., Stanne, M. E., & Donovan, S. S. (1999). Effects of small-group learning on undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 69(1), 21–51.
This meta-anaylsis of STEM research since 1980 finds multiple forms of small-group learning result in higher student academic achievement, better attitudes toward learning, and increased program retention.
Stewart, A. C., Houghton, S. M. and Rogers, P. R. (2012). Instructional Design, Active Learning, and Student Performance: Using a Trading Room to Teach Strategy. Journal of Management Education, 36, (6), 753-776.
This quasi-experimental study used an instructional design strategy in one capstone course to test the learning outcomes between the control and treatment classes. Students in the treatment class had learning gains associated with financial knowledge.
Svickni, M., & McKeachie, W. (2014). Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research and Theory for College and University Teachers.
Summative text of various teaching tips and strategies, including minute papers, paused lectures, approximate analogies and more.
Talbert, R. (2017, September 25). Myths and Facts About Flipped Learning. Educause Review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/9/myths-and-facts-about-flipped-learning.
The author addresses 6 myths about flipped learning that appear in the literature and explains more accurate applications of this pedagogical model.
Tsai, C. (2011). Achieving Effective Learning Effects in the Blended Course: A Combined Approach of Online Self-Regulated Learning and Collaborative Learning with Initiation. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 14(9), 505-510.
Researchers developed self-regulated learning and collaborative learning interventions for online, blended and traditional classes and found that the students in the online course showed the highest grades and students in the traditional lecture class showed the lowest grades.
Van den Bergh, L., Ros, A. and Beijaard, D. (2014). Improving Teacher Feedback During Active Learning: Effects of a Professional Development Program. American Educational Research Journal, 51 (4), 772-809. Doi:10.3102/0002831214531322
A professional development program was developed to improve middle school teachers’ beliefs and practices concerning feedback given during active learning instruction. Results of the outcome analysis showed positive effects on several points for beliefs, and it appeared that teachers gave more feedback on students’ metacognition activities.
Wright, L. K., Bitner, M. J., & Zeithaml, V. A. (1994). Paradigm shifts in business education: Using active learning to deliver services marketing content. Journal of Marketing Education, 16(3), 5-19.
This article discusses how active learning techniques can be used to teach both content and skills in a services marketing course, including specific examples of active learning exercises.
Zepke, N. and Leach, L. (2010). Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Education, 11 (3), 167-177. Doi:10.1177/1469787410379680
The researchers first synthesized literature on student engagement into a conceptual organizer and then synthesized findings as ten propositions for improving student engagement in higher education.