What is Active Learning?


What Is Interactive Teaching?

Interactive Teaching, also sometimes called Interactive Lecture, is where the instructor engages the students through any of a wide variety of options designed to promote creative thinking through problem solving and physical demonstrations designed to enhance and/or enforce the lesson objectives. These options can include open ended questions, hands-on demonstrations, group discussion, in-class surveys, and field trips to name a few. This web page offers links to resources for the educator to encourage and promote interactive teaching in their classroom.

There are several possible causes why students' learning may fall short of expectations...

They may,

  • not understand a crucial concept partway into the lecture and so what follows is unintelligible,
  • be missing prior information or not have a good understanding of what went before, so the conceptual structures on which the lecture is based are absent,
  • lack the interest, motivation, or desire to expend the mental effort to follow the presentation, understand the arguments, make sense of the positions, and validate the inferences.

However, whatever the cause, without interacting with the students (in the simplest case by asking questions), a teacher has no way to know if his/her efforts to explain the topic were successful. - Dr. Louis Abrahamson


Interactive Teaching Strategies

I remember... 5% of what I hear, 10% of what I read, 20% of what I hear and read, 30% of what I am shown, 50% of what I discuss, 75% of what I do and 90% of what I teach others.

What is Your Teaching Style? 5 Effective Teaching Methods for Your Classroom

Traditional teaching styles have evolved with the advent of differentiated instruction, prompting teachers to adjust their styles toward students' learning needs.

Interactive Teaching Styles Used in the Classroom

Interactive teaching styles incorporate a multitude of goals beneath a single roof. Interactive classes are designed around a simple principle: Without practical application, students often fail to comprehend the depths of the study material.

New Curriculum for First-Year Engineers at UMass Amherst Stresses Interactive Teaching Methods

This new breed of engineers is accustomed to learning by using computers - screen-by-screen - in addition to traditional textbooks, another factor the faculty considers. And although many people throughout the teaching profession are exploring the new student-active, hands-on methods of teaching, incorporating those educational concepts, as part of the curriculum is relatively unique. - Thomas Blake, Associate Dean, College of Engineering

101 Tips for Interactive Techniques

These techniques from the University of Central Florida have multiple benefits: the instructor can easily and quickly assess if students have really mastered the material (and plan to dedicate more time to it, if necessary), and the process of measuring student understanding in many cases is also practice for the material - often students do not actually learn the material until asked to make use of it in assessments such as these.

Princeton Classes Innovate to Enhance Teaching and Learning

Faculty in academic disciplines across Princeton University are embracing new technology and innovative classroom designs to engage students in novel ways and foster collaboration. These are just a few examples of how technology is being used to enhance teaching and learning at Princeton University.

Effective Approaches for Teaching STEM-literacy to Non-Engineers

Brochure adapted from the paper "Effective Approaches for Teaching STEM-literacy to non-engineers" which describes how active learning can be adapted into the classroom and utilized as an effective tool in teaching STEM material to non-engineering students.