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Happy fall break from the Kaneb Center! As you prepare for the second half of the semester, we challenge you to plan one new active learning strategy for your class. Research shows that active learning leads to increased student motivation and better learning outcomes. Here are some suggestions for active learning strategies you could employ in your teaching:

  • Notes compare. Take a one or two minute break from class to have students compare notes with another student sitting near them. Ask them to discuss what they think the most important parts are and why they emphasized what they did in their notes. This will allow students to think about the notetaking strategy they are using and to learn from their peers.
  • One minute papers. Ask students to write for one minute on a class question, on the most important thing they learned in class, or on questions that they have about the course material. You do not necessarily need to collect the papers, but if you do, this is an excellent opportunity to assess student learning and answer lingering questions.
  • Case studies. Case studies are an effective tool to get students thinking about critical issues in your course material. They include stories as short as a paragraph to longer cases describing a problem that needs to be solved and some brief context needed to solve that problem. Students working in groups brainstorm solutions using their readings, class discussion, and their own experiences to apply the subject to “real-life” problems.
  • Student presentations. Have students prepare short presentations on a topic related to your lesson for the day. Students may present on noteworthy contributors to the topic, a section of the readings, an important takeaway, a current event related to the material, or many other subjects. If you have a large class, assign multiple students to a presentation topic and have students teach others in small groups.
  • In-class debate. Divide students into teams to discuss a question with two or more reasonable answers. After preparing their arguments, consider following a formal debate format with students offering opening statements, rebuttals, and closing remarks. Close by debriefing the debate, especially if students were assigned to represent a certain side of the debate topic. For more information about using debate in the classroom, see this previous post.

There are hundreds of different active learning techniques that can be used in any discipline, for any course level, and for any topic. Take a look around and find one that works best for you!

Not sure where to start? Need some help deciding which technique is right for your class?

Stop by the Kaneb Center for an individual consultation. We are available to assist with all of your teaching needs!

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