Active, engaged, student-centered

First:  A word about Power Pointless!  My colleagues and I at the University of Illinois Springfield Center for Online Learning, Research and Service present often at academic conferences.  For the past decade, we have presented Power Pointless.  We encourage attendees to freely share presentation materials online using web-native tools that encourage collaboration and updating. You may follow the session using your personal mobile device to dig deeper into the topics we discuss and share with others following the session:

Understanding Our Students

What Does this Mean?

"We want to learn; not to be taught" 

Participate in designing the learning?
Engage in the learning?
Sustain the learning?
Apply the learning?
Profit from the learning?


What "job" have your students "hired" Northwestern to do?

Are Students Buying What We Are Selling - Christensen Institute

At the Institute, we believe that jobs-to-be-done theory will prove a crucial tool to getting innovation right on behalf of students. We’ve spent the better half of the past year conducting in-depth research on why students “hire” college (the results of our surveys will be published next year).... 
But I’m also holding out hope that leaders, reformers, and advocates without any profit motives whatsoever, but who are deeply invested in changing the education system, can likewise take a page from Competing Against Luck. It offers a critical chance to consider the actual motivations of the entire constellation of actors in the education system in a new light; and in particular, what compels—or doesn’t compel—our students to buy what we’re selling.

Innovation Imperative: Generation Z - What Do Students Value?

A glimpse at Gen Z desires for college

How Do You Address Your Students' Outcomes Desires?

  the 'Gogies.... educating along the PAH continuuum.

Differences among Teaching Children, Adults, and Self-Actualized Adults

PAH - Pedagogy, Andragogy, Heutagogy Graphic from User Generated Education

created by Jon Andrews

Active Learning Definition 

Active learning is not a theory but a teaching method that supports learning. The method uses techniques such as writing reflections, discussion, problem solving—activities that promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation that guide students towards achieving learning objectives....The choice of activity and tool are (or should be) determined by the learning goal, as well as other factors that include, time available, location (in-class or online), class size and others that are specific to the students, such as their skill level and access to tools.

Another way to define active learning is to consider the opposite—passive learning where students are recipients of knowledge, are expected to record and absorb knowledge  delivered by an expert—a faculty member or textbook (McManus, 2001). Passive learning aligns with behaviorist theories where the student is viewed as an empty vessel waiting to be filled. In contrast active learning aligns with the constructivist perspective of learning. The constructivist view embraces the idea that knowledge is actively constructed by the learner and integrated with his or her existing knowledge and experience.

I wonder:  How has the role of memorization changed in this digital age?
What are the implications for teaching/learning?

what is the gross national product of Moldova?
what is the element with atomic number of 101?
when was the treaty of Ghent signed?

"remember" learning in many cases has moved from "what and when and where" to "how can I find that in an instant"

Passive Learning ......................................................................Active Learning

methods used commonly in the last century        ~       evoke best learning outcomes environments

 independent solitary reading, solitary memorizing        ~        applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating

Lecturing at the white board in front of class           ~          peer teaching no front or back of the class

standard multiple choice, short answer exams     ~      group projects, shared/rotated leadership

no blending or blending by calendar            ~          blending by content/activity (e.g. for a reason)

Moving up the Bloom's Taxonomy Pyramid: Beyond Remembering

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy - graphic by UNC

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy Graphic by UNC

What are examples of how you have scaled the taxonomy?

Half a Dozen Universities: Active Learning Approaches

Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science

Active Learning: Getting Students to Think and Work in the Classroom: 

Three Most Common Mistakes in Active Learning
Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at Stanford 

Actively Engaging Students in the Large Classes:

Active and Collaborative Learning Strategies:

Getting the Right Mix in Blending

"Most people involved in designing and implementing a blended English language programme – whether in the Middle East or another part of the world – will tell you that there is no “perfect blend”. What matters is getting the right blend for the specific situation. That is choosing the right technology for the job and ensuring that the technology is not being used simply for technology’s sake, but rather as means to promote optimal learning outcomes."

"Blended learning programs, when done the right way, offer learners the benefits of spaced repetition, potential for social connections, and the guidance and mentoring of a knowledgeable expert. When done the wrong way, however, blended learning programs can feel disjointed, frustrate learners, and waste valuable time and effort....Remember, whatever blend of learning you choose to create, it still needs to be meaningful, memorable, and motivational.  "

Sampling of Active Strategies

Examples of Active Learning Techniques

Think Pair Share: students ponder the answer to a question and then share their thoughts with a neighbor.
Role Playing: "each student takes the role of a person affected by an Earth science issue, such as a volcano or a polluted lake and studies the impacts of Earth science issues on human life and/or the effects of human activities on the world around us from the perspective of that person."
Peer Review: students review and comment on materials written by their classmates.
Discussion: promoting a successful discussion depends on correctly framing questions. Discover tips for framing discussion questions to promote higher order thinking.
Role Playing: students look at the topic from the perspective of a character, who will affect and be affected by a chosen topic.
Problem solving using real data: students use a variety of data to explore scientific questions.
Just in Time Teaching: students read assigned material outside of class, respond to short questions online, then participate in collaborative exercises the following class period.
Game Based Learning: uses competitive exercises, either pitting the students against each other or through computer simulations.

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Contact information:

Ray Schroeder 
Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning
University of Illinois Springfield


Director of the UPCEA Center for Online Leadership