What is active learning? How do we make it happen?
Professor Freedman explained that posing questions which prompt students to interact with each other to figure out the answers can turn the standard lecture room into an active, dynamic place.
By encouraging the sharing of ideas, students can engage with the concepts and provide immediate, real-time feedback regarding gaps in their learning. In response, instructors can help them improve their understanding to avoid making mistakes moving forward.
“I understand the concepts… I just can’t do the problems!”
According to Professor Freedman, the above statement is a universal truth most students struggle with. What they really mean, however, is that they lack the deeper conceptual understanding to help them solve more complex problems.
Conceptual understanding is the basis of an active learning strategy
For the above reason, Roger has structured a series of different types of conceptual questions as part of the active learning techniques available with University Physics. Amongst these are multiple choice or ranking task questions aimed at helping educators monitor the level of understanding amongst students and support them as they introduce more complex concepts to their teaching.
Another example is the clicker questions – a classroom response system tool where students use a physical device or their mobiles. Lecturers can start with a basic question and continue with follow-up, next-level questions to monitor understanding and diagnose gaps and weaknesses – especially where a large percentage of students have provided the wrong answer.