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Are you tired of giving lectures and feeling like you’re the one doing all the work?

Would you like to create a more positive learning environment for yourself and where students are more involved and engaged in their learning?

 

#ActiveLearningMTU

The Active Learning Movement is an initiative to support staff to implement active learning strategies in their classroom It is essentially a learning community where you, as a member, will have the opportunity to experiment and investigate new approaches to teaching and engaging your students with the support of like-minded colleagues and the TLU.

The following framework will provide the guiding principles for the learning community

 

Be “ACTIVE” framework

  • A - analyze your context and decide on what Active Learning Strategy will work for you and your students
  • C - communicate to your students why you are doing this, what they are going to do and how they are going to do it
  • T - Test the Active Learning Strategy in the classroom
  • I - Involve students/colleagues in getting feedback on what worked
  • V - add Value to the teaching strategy and see how it can be enhanced in your context- validate this strategy for yourself
  •  E- Engage with peers and colleagues engaged in the Active Learning Movement.

Copyright © 2020 Thomas Broderick. All rights reserved

How will it work?

This initiative will be led by you as a participant and facilitated by colleagues in the TLU – what you decide to do will very much depend on your context, i.e. the number of students you will be teaching, what stage these students are at, whether you are teaching face-to-face, entirely remotely or in blended mode.

You will:

  • Examine how you structure a lecture and what opportunities there are for students to engage during the lecture.
  • Redesign, as necessary, your lectures to integrate some generally applicable active learning strategies that you feel might work for you, your students, your discipline and the concepts you want your students to learn.
  • Be supported to implement these strategies in your classroom, be it face-to-face or online, during the semester adjusting them as necessary to meet your need.
  • Reflect on these strategies to learn what worked well and recommend changes as necessary so that others can benefit from your experience.

I think I’m interested, what do I need to do?

If you don’t know much about active learning then we recommend you first visit the Active Learning page of our website where the why, what and how of active learning is discussed and explained and then:

  1. Select a specific module, learning outcome and content that you are working on delivering this semester.
  2. Identify a simple active learning strategy you might consider implementing in your class.
  3. Identify what tools you need to implement this strategy, i.e.: pen & paper, or perhaps some sort of technology, e.g. an audience response system, interactive whiteboard, etc.
  4. Implement this strategy from week 1 of the semester but before you begin make sure that you get your students on board because, for some, this approach might be new to them and may feel a bit uncomfortable.
  5. Reflect on and evaluate the strategy at the end of the semester.

How do I get my students on board and create a positive classroom environment?

This approach to teaching and learning may be quite new to some students who may be used to a more passive less active role in their learning. Hence, to mitigate against any student resistance to active learning it is important that you take some time at the start of the semester to:

  • Explain why active learning is better than passive learning
  • Provide some evidence that it works - research has shown active learning leads to an increase average grade and a decrease in failure rates.
  • Define the expectations for the student, i.e. this is what it is going to look like in practice for them as a learner
  • Encourage/Monitor and reward them for their participation
  • Model active learning behaviours, i.e. be open, make mistakes, respect each other

What TLU support will be available to me?

The TLU will facilitate and support:

  • Week 1 - Drop-in session to discuss active learning - there are two possible time slots to choose from:
    • Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 12:00 – 13:00
    • Friday, 29th January 2021, 13:00-14:00
  • Week 3, 7, and 10 - Active Learning Movement Meeting – a 1 hour meeting to discuss how the strategy implemented is working for you, what you are observing from the experience, how your students are reacting and perhaps choosing another strategy or refining the one you have already chosen - dates & times to be announced,
  • Week 13- Active Learning Movement Review Meeting to discuss lessons learnt and decide on next steps - date & time to be announced,

What’s in it for me?

Engaging with this initiative will:

  • Empower you to create a more positive and engaging environment for yourself and your students
  • Enable you to collaborate with other like-minded colleagues to share and develop active learning strategies that work for you and your students
  • Enable you to complete elements of the National Forum’s digital Badge “Teaching Strategies for Interactive Engaged Classes”
  • Receive support from colleagues to develop posters/cases study/ conference presentations if you wish to do so

How do I join?

This initiative is open to any staff member interested in learning more about Active Learning so if you would like to get involved sign up to the Active Learning Movement - Mailing List so we can keep you up to date on all of our activities, meetings, etc.

Where can I get further information?

The project coordinator is Thomas Broderick (Thomas.Broderick@cit.ie) - alternatively, you can contact us and we can forward your query.

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