Active Learning

Engaging Students Through Active Learning Strategies


Active Learning includes a range of teaching and learning activities. These strategies, supported by decades of classroom research, may be thought of as a continuum from low risk to high risk for both teachers and students. Such a continuum may include (but not be limited to) strategies such as some of the following:

  • Group quizzes
  • Individual think and write exercises, such as the “pause technique” or “one minute papers”
  • Pairing activities such as “think, pair, share”
  • Interactive seminars
  • Case studies

More complex and higher risk processes might include such activities as:

  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Team-Based Learning
  • Individual and group project based assignments
  • Student involvement in research
  • Internships
  • Practicum experiences


Recommended Resources 

The K. Patricia Cross Academy Teaching Techniques Video Library  – A wonderful collection of videos describing various teaching techniques that you can explore. The site provides the option to search for teaching techniques by activity type (group work, discussion, active learning, games,…), teaching problem (cheating, low participation, poor note-taking,..) or by learning taxonomic dimension (foundational knowledge, problem solving, caring, learning how to learn …).

“Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.” (Chickering & Gamson, 1987)