Active learning

Active learning can essentially be defined as “students doing things and thinking about what they are doing” (Bonwell and Eison, 1991)

Active learning is a key aspect of the flipped classroom and can be applied to any learning environment from online to standard lectures or as a blend of these. The aim of active learning is to provide opportunities for learners to think critically about content through a range of activities that help prepare learners for the challenges of professional situations. Therefore it is important to design activities that promote higher order thinking skills such as collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving. Active learning activities can range from low-stakes (more simple) to high stakes (more complex) activities.

Low stakes activites

The Face-to-face section outlines some low stakes strategies that you can use to engage students in class including:

  • Think-pair-share
  • The Jigsaw Technique
  • Mindmaps

High stakes activities

The following more structured strategies require greater levels of planning and design

Strategies for active learning: Concept questions using clickers

Click on the images below to view each video on the screen above

Concept questions using clickers

Teacher supported activities

Active Learning Case Study: Carl Sherwood