Active Learning Video


questionWhat is it and what’s the impact on learning?

Active learning focuses on implementing teaching methods that allow a student to mentally and/or physically engage with the material. This engagement which promotes that students be more implicated in their learning, results in better processing of information, thus creating a longer-lasting memory trace, and an improvement in content knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities (Anderson, Mitchell, & Osgood, 2005; see also Kember & Lung, 2005). Active learning also provides an opportunity for the professor and the student to determine what has been learnt, as well as to identify where there are gaps/weaknesses in the learning. This can help target learning activities more appropriately and effectively.

2flechesHow do we put it in practice?

  1. Think-Pair-Share Activities: This entails having a student work alone on something, then pair with at least one other student, before sharing with the group at large.
  2. Polling/Voting: This can be done in electronic form, or just by using a show of hands or different colored cards. Allows all students to contribute, and is a great way to see what students have understood, or what they think about a particular topic.
  3. One Minute Paper: Use the one-minute paper to obtain feedback from your students regarding what they already know, what they’ve understood, or what they want to know more about. It’s a great tool to guide your teaching.

exclamationWhat are some things to consider?

For active learning to be effective, it is important that students engage in different types of activities every 15-20 minutes that are not simply implemented to just fill time. Additionally, irrespective of the strategy employed, the goal should focus on helping students:

  1. Recognize that the information is related to something they already know.
  2. Create links with other students and with you.
  3. Reflect on their learning.
  4. See the benefit of the material.


Anderson, W.L., Mitchell, S.M., Osgood, M.P. (2005, November). Comparison of student performance in cooperative learning and traditional lecture-based biochemistry classes. Biochemical Molecular Biology Education, 33(6), 387-93. doi: 10.1002/bmb.2005.49403306387.
Kember, D., and Leung, D.Y. P. (2005, April). The influence of active learning experiences on the development of graduate capabilities. Studies in Higher Education, 30 (2), 155–170. doi: 10.1080/03075070500043127.

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loupeWant to know more?

Check out the expanded version of this document in the following section, or contact The Centre for Innovative Pedagogies and Digital Learning (CIPDL) to meet with an Educational Developer at



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