Learning the Active Way: Creating Interactive Lectures to Promote Student Learning

Learning the Active Way: Creating Interactive Lectures to Promote Student Learning

Chris Campbell (Griffith University, Australia) and Heidi Blair (Griffith University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3873-8.ch002


This chapter, by highlighting research project examples, reports on methods of active learning to promote student engagement in previously static classes. Through these examples, one can explore how increased lecture interactivity can be accomplished via the implementation of strategies sans technology and those that leverage the often ubiquitous wireless Internet accessed by mobile devices found in higher education learning spaces today. A variety of practices for engaging students in lectures are described including those that promote student voice through various emerging technologies. Technologies discussed include learner response systems, 3D simulations, videos, online web applications such as Padlet and tlk.io, as well as various other feedback systems. Learning design theory is used to relate the case studies included to the latest theory.
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The 2017 Horizon Report suggests that pedagogical approaches to creating richer, hands-on and authentic learning experiences are warranted because students “learn by experiences, doing, and creating, demonstrating newly acquired skills in more concrete and creative ways” (Adams Becker, Cummins, Davis, Freeman, Hall Giesinger, & Ananthanarayanan, 2017, p. 6). The Adams et al., report asserts students are now active contributors to their learning and as such, educators facilitate this new way of learning by creating interactive lectures via a variety of methods. This is a clear shift from previous generations of students, who were required to sit passively in lectures to learn, as well as structuring their learning in other, more passive ways. With access to new and emerging technologies and wireless networks, it is now possible to create interactive lectures that all students are able to confidently participate in with the mobile devices they carry with them.

Student centered learning is a common pedagogical approach that uses a social constructivist background and informs today’s contemporary teaching practices (McLoughlin & Lee, 2008). Another study suggests educators will use interactive tools and in particular, learner response systems according to their existing pedagogical frameworks, which in the study were generally based on constructivist learning theories (Monk, Campbell, & Smala, 2013).

In this chapter’s literature review both active learning and learning design will be defined. Enhancing student learning using learner response systems will also be examined. Giving students near-immediate feedback and teaching large classes are also dissected with the current literature, as are other tools that promote active learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Explore: Griffith University has developed a website called Explore where educators can discover innovative teaching practices they can then apply to their own teaching.

Metacognition: This is the understanding and awareness of one’s own thought processes, or the thinking about thinking process.

Learner Response System: This is a device or online system where students are able to answer questions in real time in the lecture.

Active Learning Strategies: This chapter defines active learning strategies as methods for engaging students to interact within learning experiences physically, cognitively and socially.

KWL Chart: This is a graphic organizer designed to assist learners to think about what they already know, what they want to know and finally what they have learnt about a given subject.

Flipped Classroom: A common and popular term which is sometimes intertwined with active learning this is where the educator asks the students to complete assigned work such as watch a video or complete a reading prior to attending the class. Often when in class students participate in active learning to help consolidate knowledge.

Student Engagement: The engagement of students in the classroom and within the course when they are learning.

Learning Design: The working definition of learning design in this chapter is the actual learning activities that are used in the context of a university or college course. However, some would find this definition very narrow as it can be about the whole of the teaching and/or learning experience.

Non-Linguistic Representations: Non-verbal representations and elaboration of knowledge (e.g., mind-maps, diagrams, infographics, etc.).

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