Active Learning Strategies
Traditional teaching styles depended upon the instructor lecturing at the front of the
classroom while students sat in neat rows and took notes. However, active learning is much
more collaborative and involves students in the learning process. This educational shift has
come about due to the knowledge we now have about adult learners, the advances in
educational technology and the various modalities we have in education today.
Today, we may see desks arranged differently as well as students taking a very active part in
the learning activities. Active learning activities may involve discussing, writing, debating,
blogging, interacting, listening, reflecting, reading or presenting about the content. An
instructor might offer options of activities so students have choices depending upon their
learning styles. For instance, a history project could have many options:
1. Write a mini-play.
2. Create a short video clip
3. Recite a narrative
4. Create a collaborative wiki
5. Engage in a debate
6. Paint a vivid picture
Newer educational technology software applications may also be a part of your new teaching
“toolkit” since some of them lend well to collaboration and active learning. This site:
lists the top 100 elearning tools for 2009 and also for 2008. You certainly don’t need to know
all of them, but, it might be a good idea to just learn one or two which may enhance your
teaching activities. (Note – NSU NET Services does not offer support on all of these great
products, but, we do our best to assist you! Ask those of us in the ID department which ones
we like and have used!)
Challenge your students as well how to come up with collaborative projects which will meet
your learning objectives. These digital natives or “free agents” as they are now sometimes
called will probably creatively tackle assignments in ways many of us have not thought of
Using the Tablet PC
Think about the various capabilities of the Tablet PC and the software that came with it and
practice using one or two programs in a collaborative manner. The capability of using the
inking feature to send notes immediately to students is powerful and this collaborative
capability is only limited by your imagination how many ways it can be used!
OneNote – A powerful way to keep notes and documents. Tabs are color coded and
you can easily add pages to each section. Very easy to insert emails or web pages into
OneNote as well. You can send these notes to your students very easily by hitting the email
button in this program.
Journal - Has been called “Word on steroids” by some. The various inking capabilities
make it fun to use – great for those creative types too! Plus, you can send your notes to your
entire class easily.
Inking feature – great for collaborating in class on discussions, PowerPoints, Journal,
At NSU, the idea is that the Tablet PC is your main computer so you have all your files with
you as you need them. If you need to go to a meeting, you can take it with you and keep your
meetings notes on it.
References which may prove helpful:
ACU. Active Learning. Source:
Alvarado, C., Anderson, R., Anderson, Ruth, Prey, J., Simon, B. Tront, J. & Wolfman, S.
Tablet PC and Computing Curriculum. Source:
Austin, D. & Mescia, N.D. (n.d.). Strategies to incorporate active learning into online
Asaro, J. Great Active Learning Strategies. Source:
Bellanca, J. (2008). 200+ Active Learning Strategies and Projects for Engaging Students’
Multiple Intelligences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Enhancing distributed learning environments through Tablet PC technology. Source:
Paulson, D. & Faust, J. (n.d.). Active learning for the college classroom. Source:
Silberman, M. (1996). Active learning: 101 strategies to teach any subject. Des Moines:
U of MN. Twelve Active Learning Strategies. Source: