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The Be ACTIVE Framework

What is the idea? 

‘Active learning represents a range of strategies that engage learners in “meaningful activities” and require learners to “think” about what they are “doing”. Essentially, anything that gets students interacting with each other and engaging with the lecture’ (Hattie and Zierer, 2017).

There are many challenges with engaging students actively in both synchronous and asynchronous environments. To support staff to address some of these challenges the Teaching and Learning Unit (TLU), in Munster Technological University (MTU) developed the ‘Be ACTIVE’ Framework. It is an exploratory framework to support staff and institutions to implement and embed active learning in their everyday teaching practice.

Why this idea?

Active Learning has received considerable attention in recent years as educators continue to look for more effective ways of engaging students in different environments and contexts. This attempt to shift from the more traditional didactic transmission mode, however, presents challenges for teachers and their students. 

The ‘Be ACTIVE’ Framework provides structure for individuals implementing active learning – giving guidance and boundaries as they build meaningful activities into their lectures in an attempt to increase student engagement. This framework also aims to provide structure and guidance to higher education units responsible for promoting and embedding active learning in their institutions. Finally, it is hoped that the framework would help institutions to begin a conversation around the scholarship of teaching and learning around active learning. 

To view the "Active Learning Poster" click on it below

The 'Active Learning Poster' below was created for the ALN Conference 2021. It contains intereactive content, including videos. Click to begin.

How could others implement this idea? 

The 'Be ACTIVE' Framework is briefly outlined below. An example of adapting this framework to a coaching/coach education context where it can help coaches inform/reflect on how they actively engage their athletes in a sports environment and how they might do this in a more meaningful way is also provided. Links to videos describing each stage and worksheets developed to support staff are included and provide greater detail on each step. To reveal the related resources, please click on each of the corresponding letters below

Be ACTIVE Framework

The 'B'

The ‘B activity’ is the starting point of the framework and encourages participants to ‘self-reflect’ on how they are currently teaching and what they can start to do differently in their context. 

  • Example: B - Begin reflecting on how you currently coach? What is working? What would you like to change? 
  • Links: Click on the links below to view video/activity

THE 'e'

The ‘e activity’ aims to alert participants to the importance of ethics and getting ethical approval prior to conducting educational research. This is a consideration for those interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning and measuring the impact of active learning from a teacher and student perspective. 

  • Example: e- Ethical considerations- Is there opportunity for some action research, an opportunity to gather some evidence on your coaching and on a new way of doing things?  
  • Links: Click on the links below to view video/activity:

The ‘A’

The ‘A activity’ requires participants to analyse their context and assess possible active learning strategies suitable to their specific context. The ‘A activity’ considers:  

  • Why use active learning?  
  • What does the literature say about active learning? 
  • Where teaching will take place (face-to-Face, online etc)  
  • What active learning strategy might work in this instance? 
  • What is the goal of your active learning strategy? 


  • Example: A- analyse and assess your coaching session 
  • Links: Click on the links below to view video/activity

The ‘C’

The ‘C - Activity’ requires participants to choose an appropriate active learning strategy and communicate the why, what, and how with their students. They are asked to provide a rationale as to why they are taking a specific approach and communicate this rational with their students which should lead to greater student buy-in. It also involves students in navigating their learning, develops relationships and will result in a more student-centred environment in their classroom. 

  • Example: C- chose a different way to engage with your athletes and communicate why you are doing this. (i.e., better questioning, game-based session, time for reflection within sessions) 
  • Links: Click on the links below to view video/activity

The ‘T’

The ‘T activity’ requires participants to build trust with their students and also to test the active learning strategy. Remember active learning will only work if students trust each other and trust the lecturer because then they will be willing to take risks, ask questions and share their thoughts and ideas. Testing the strategy – effectively means making a plan and trialling the activity with their class.  Plan, what they do and what do they need to do it? How long will they do it for? What will their students do? How long will they do it for? 

The ‘I’

The ‘I activity’ requires participants to investigate, improve, innovate and be inclusive. It requires participants to consider questions like: were their instructions clear, could their students follow them easily, did they over or underestimate the time for the activity and did this impact on students' level of engagement, did it work for them and their students, what would they remove change or add, what did they learn, how could they make the class more inclusive? 

The ‘V’

The ‘V activity’ follows on from the I and requires participants to validate and add value to their strategy for the next time. Using Brookfield’s Four Lens model of peers, self, students, and literature it requires the sourcing of feedback from the different perspectives to examine how they can change their practice to add value to it for their students learning.  

The ‘E’

The ‘E-activity’ requires participants to evaluate the evidence, enhance the process and engage in further Active Learning. Evaluating the evidence is important so participants can see if their initiative had impact and how the learning experience could be improved further. Students should be partners in this process as they can provide rich data as to how best to proceed. In addition, engaging with further literature is recommended as this can also help improve practice. Participants are encouraged to find others in their institution who can support them in their practice such as an academic mentor or a community of practice focused on student engagement.  

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