W06: Incorporating Active Learning in Lectures

10:30 AM–12:30 PM Jun 18, 2019 (US - Central)

Grand Ballroom Salon EFG


Lecturing is one of the most common strategies used to communicate content with students, especially when faced with teaching a considerable amount of material to achieve competencies and/or teaching a large number of students. However, research tells us that students are unable to focus for the entirety of a traditional 60-minute lecture. In fact, it is thought that as instructors, we have student attention for an estimated 15 minutes at the beginning of a lecture before they require an attention reset. To aid in this reset, it is recommended to change something in your lecture every 15 minutes to support student attention, learning and engagement with the material. These change-up strategies are typically active learning strategies. Active learning has been defined as learning that “engages students in the process of learning through activities and/or discussion in class, as opposed to passively listening to an expert. It emphasizes higher-order thinking and often involves group work.” Freeman, S., et al. (2014). Research overwhelmingly supports the shift from passive learning environments to more active ones, however this transformation can be difficult to envision in large STEM lecture courses. This workshop will help participants recognize ways to strategically incorporate active learning into their lectures and identify how these techniques can strengthen student learning. Through exploration of what defines a lecture, how to leverage students as active members of the learning process, and hands-on experience, participants in this workshop will learn evidence-based strategies to make lectures a more active learning environment regardless of the size of the course.


Julia Johnson (Presenter)
The Teaching Center, Washington University in St. Louis

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