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Located in the James E Walker Library, Room 348

Teaching Resources

Active Learning

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Collaborative/Cooperative Learning Service Learning Discussion Techniques Problem/Inquiry Based Learning Learner-Centered Teaching presentation abilities


Active learning strategies involve students in some activity that forces them to think about and comment on the information presented. Instead of listening passively, students must analyze, synthesize, and evaluate material with other students by asking questions or through writing, making active learning a more learning-centered approach in that it places the responsibility to understand and communicate information on the student, not the teacher.

Active learning encompasses a range of strategies including collaborative and cooperative work, problem- or inquiry-based learning, clickers, etc. Even lecturing can be opened up to active learning principles simply by creating 15-minute units that are bracketed with discussion periods.

MTSU Resources

Active Learning Teaching Tip

LTITC Resources

Look at our sources for active learning on

From our library--

Association of American Colleges. (1990). The challenge of connecting learning. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges.

Bean, J.C. (2001). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Bonwell, C.C., & Elison, J. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. Washington, DC: The George Washington University Press.

Finkel, D. (2000). Teaching with your mouth shut. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.

Finkelstein, J. (2006). Learning in real time: Synchronous teaching and learning online. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Foyle, H. (1995). Interactive learning in higher education. Washington, DC: National Education Association of the United States.

Hertel, J.P. & Millis, B.J. (2002). Using simulations to promote learning in higher education: An introduction. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Magnan, R. (2005). 147 practical tips for using icebreakers with college students. Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing.

Mayer, R.E. (2005). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Meyers, C. & Jones, T.B. (1993). Promoting active learning: Strategies for the college classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Siberman, M. (2006). Teaching actively: Eight steps and 32 strategies to spark learning in any classroom. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Stage, F.K., Muller, P.A., Kinzie, J., & Simmons, A. (1998). Creating learner-centered classrooms: What does learning theory have to say? Washington, DC: The George Washington University Press.

Sugar, S., & Willett, C. (2005). Games that boost performance: 30 ready-to-use group activities. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Ukens, L.L. (1999). All together now! A seriously fun collection of interactive training games and activities. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-centered teaching: Five key changes to practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wilson, D., & Smilanich, E. (2005). The other blended learning: A classroom-centered approach . San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Zull, J.E. (2002). The art of changing the brain: Enriching the practice of learning by exploring the biology of learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

(The center maintains a vertical file of materials on active learning that is available for browsing.)

Online Resources: Tips and Strategies

Active Learning in an Online Environment
Self-paced tutorial designed for teaching strategies that promote active learning in an online classroom.

Six Ways to Discourage Learning by Douglas Duncan, AAS Education Office. "

"One way to improve your teaching is to become aware of very common things teachers often do which don't help the learning process, and avoid them! This usually takes some practice, and discussion with others who teach. Six of these behaviors you should note and avoid are:

Insufficient "Wait-Time"

The Rapid-Reward

The Programmed Answer

Non-Specific Feedback Questions ("Does anyone have any questions?)

Teacher's Ego-stroking and Classroom Climate

Fixation at a low-level of Questioning"

Active Learning with PowerPoint This tutorial from Univ of Minn's teaching center is designed to help you capitalize on those aspects of PowerPoint that lend themselves best to engaging students' interests.

Active Lecturing

Foundation for Critical Thinking

Invigorate Learning with Interactive Activities and WebCT. Short 12-minute video from IA State U's teaching center shows teacher energizing students. Realplayer format. Download player from if you don't have one already installed.

Online Publications: Viewpoints, Articles, Books...

Active Learning: Getting Students to Work and Think in the Classroom. From the newsletter of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Stanford University.

Benefits of Active Learning

Active Learning in Higher Education from Sagepub via MTSU portal.

First-Day Questions for the Learner-Centered Classroom. From the National Teaching and Learning Forum.