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Active Learning Resources: Active Learning Basics

This guide contains resources on active learning from the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

What Is Active Learning?

Why Active Learning Works

Many educators assert (incorrectly) that all learning is inherently active, and therefore students are actively invloved while listening to a traditional lecture.

Research, however, suggests the opposite.

In order for students to be engaged and increase learning, students must participate in higher-order thinking tasks such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. 

Within this context, active learning can be understand as instructional activities involving students "doing" and "thinking" about what they are doing. 

Research shows that incorporating active learning strategies are superior to lectures in promoting the development of students' skills in thinking and writing, and therefore, the use of active learning techniques in and out of the classroom is essential for student learning to improve. 

Furthermore, cognitive research illustrates that a significant number of students have learning styles that respond to active learning techniques far better than traditional lecture.

Therefore, in light of decades of research illustrating the benefits of incorporating pedagogical active learning techniques, thoughtful and skillful instruction requires faculty to become knowledgable about the many strategies promoting active learning that have been successfully used across disciplines. 

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