College of Science & Engineering

Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education

Active Learning

The seminal article about the impact of active learning on student learning outcomes was published in 2014: Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science Engineering and Mathematics by Scott Freeman, Sarah L. Eddy, Miles McDonough, Michelle K. Smith, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Mary Pat Wenderoth. The authors claim the results raise questions about the continued use of traditional lecturing and support active learning as the preferred teaching practice.

Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent have written extensively about active learning in STEM, including the book Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide (2016) San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass. Active Learning: An Introduction defines active learning and describes instructional strategies that can be easily implemented. The authors host a website Resources for Teaching and Learning STEM with useful resources for implementing active learning strategies.

Ed Prather's video demonstrating the rationale for and use of ABCD cards provides an immediate entry point into using an active learning strategy in a large lecture class. Ed Prather is an astronomy professor at University of Arizona who regularly uses active learning strategies such as ABCD cards in his large enrollment astronomy courses.

ABCD template to print and use with students.PDF icon ABCD Card.pdf