Active Learning / Interactive Teaching

“Active learning” is a broad term often used to describe a range of activities but the one thing all have in common is that they require students to actively engage with course material (versus passively receiving information). This can be as simple as stopping lecture every once in a while to let students process and ask questions, to methods as complex as Team-Based Learning where students spend the entire class period working in small groups on deep problems. For additional resources on some specific techniques, see the Issues pages on collaborative learningformative assessment, and instructional technology, as well as the following links: 

  • The Guide to Active Learning compiled by Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching gives a great overview of the theory and evidence supporting active learning, as well as several examples of simple techniques to get you started.
  • The Active Learning resource page put together by the CETL at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has a nice overview of active learning and lists of useful websites, books and journals – you may find the list of discipline-specific journals compiled by UNC-Charlotte especially useful.
  • Making Active Learning Work (U of Minn)
  • The SERC portal for educators has modules on several pedagogical approaches, ranging from quite simple to really complex. Each module describes the what, why and how for the pedagogy, along with specific examples and references to additional information. No matter what stage of teaching you are in, or what kind of teacher you are, exploring this site is sure to give you ideas for new things to try.
  • Try something from this huge list of interactive techniques
  • The Chronicle's guide on How to Hold a Better Class Discussion has great advice about discussions but most applies to active learning more generally 
  • For those who want to learn more about clickers, SDSU uses i>clickers and the folks at Instructional Technology Services would be more than happy to help you use them.