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Discovery Curriculum Teaching Toolbox

Active Learning: Tips for Getting Started

Active Learning (AL) in the Classroom:

AL is any instructional method that engages students in
the learning process.
AL requires students to: 

  • attend to each session prepared
  • complete meaningful learning activities
  • think about what they are doing

The core elements of active learning are student activity
and engagement in the learning process. Active learning is
often contrasted to the traditional lecture where students
passively receive information from the instructor. 


1. Start with a question
2. Create a pre-class knowledge survey
3. Use cases related to a pre-class podcast to prompt discussion.


  • Students receive immediate feedback
  • Engagement is accomplished through participation--students learn by doing.
  • AL methods promote higher order thinking skills by analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating.

Resources Available:

  • PDFs:
  1. Bookend Learning
  2. Learn before Lecture
  3. Team-based learning
  • Websites:
  1. Center for Research on Learning and Teaching

Need Help? Contact Diane Wilke-Zemanovic, Sue Korek, or Diane Brown at

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