Active Learning in Online Classes
What Does Active Learning Look Like in an Online Class?
Click through the slideshow interactive below or read the slideshow's text transcript (located below the interactive) to experience an example of active learning in an online class, from the students' perspective.
If you would like to listen to a narration for each slide, click the audio button that appears on each slide.
Walking Through Active Learning in an Online Class Interactive Slideshow Transcript (text file)
Benefits of Implementing Active Learning in Your Class
- By integrating active learning activities, students are provided the opportunity to practice 21st century workplace skills (Active Learning, 2018).
- Research suggests that active learning “…[decreases] the achievement gap for underrepresented minorities and first generation college students, particularly in STEM fields…” (Active Learning).
- Breaking lecture videos into chunked microlessons, followed by a learning activity helps students stay engaged with the material. Research indicates that when a video is longer than 9-12 minutes, students will watch less than half of it (Carmichael et al., 2018).
New to Active Learning and Want to Give it a Try? Advice for Getting Started!
Because active learning encompasses many activities (an instructor’s imagination is the limit), and it is not considered a prescriptive process, some instructors may feel overwhelmed by the number of options available to them, as well by how to introduce the concept to their classes. To help “ease” into implementing active learning, Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching suggests:
- "Start small, start early, and start with activities that pose low risk for both instructors and students.
- Identify your learning goals, think about how you would identify whether students had reached them (that is, how you might structure assessment), and then choose an active learning approach that helps your students achieve those goals.
- As you begin to incorporate active learning practices, it’s a good idea to explain to students why you’re doing so; talking to your students about their learning not only helps build a supportive classroom environment, but can also help them develop their metacognitive skills (and thus their ability to become independent learners)” (Brame).
Getting Started Resources
- Active Learning: An Introduction (PDF)
- Active Learning Introduction (Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University
- Active Learning Cheat Sheet: 10 Steps to Getting Started (PDF)
- University of Minnesota Active Learning Guide
- Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives
Active Learning Techniques
- K. Patricia Cross Academy
Non-profit program founded by Faculty2Faculty providing free downloadable and video resources on specific active learning techniques
- Online Active Learning Techniques (Word doc)
Tools Supporting Active Learning in Sakai
- Interactive Features in Lessons
- Chat Room
- How Do I Do That Online? (PDF)
Practical strategies for creating online activities in Sakai to replace common face-to-face class activities.
- Preparing to Teach Online
This resource will help walk you through the building blocks of setting up your Sakai site.
- Active Learning: Developing Self-Directed Learners Through Strong Intellectual Engagement
- Opportunities for Social Interaction with Your Online Students (PDF)
Ideas for creating instructor presence in your online class.
Active Learning. University of Leicester. (2018, May 15). Retrieved September 21, 2021, from https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/lli/developing-learning-and-teaching/enhance/strategies/active-learning.
Active Learning. Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2021, from poorvucenter.yale.edu/ActiveLearning.
Brame, C. (n.d.). Active Learning. Retrieved from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/59/Active-Learning.pdf.
Carmichael, M., Reid, A.-K., & Karpicke, J. (2018). Assessing the Impact of Educational Video on Student Engagement, Critical Thinking and Learning: The Current State of Play. Retrieved October 1, 2018, from us.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/hevideolearning.pdf.
Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. CTRL Faculty Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2021, from edspace.american.edu/ctrl/blooms_taxonomy/.
Gifkins, J. (2020, May 7). What is 'active learning' and why is it important? E-International Relations. Retrieved September 21, 2021, from www.e-ir.info/2015/10/08/what-is-active-learning-and-why-is-it-important/.
Michael, J. (2006). Where's the evidence that active learning works? Advances in Physiology Education, 30(4), 159–167. https://doi.org/10.1152/advan.00053.2006