Active learning

‘Active learning’ is an umbrella term that refers to any model of instruction where students learn through participation and collaboration. These models are heavily promoted by both the University’s Education and Technology Enhanced Learning Strategies.

When used properly, technologies such as student response systems can effectively facilitate active learning in lectures and practical classes, as they enable a variety of interactive pedagogies such as ‘flipping the class’. Outside face-to-face teaching, active learning can be effectively facilitated through approaches such as collaborative projects, for example by asking small groups to create instructional videos or online tutorials for other students to learn from.


The issues will vary depending on your existing situation and what active learning techniques you intend to introduce. You are likely to need to consider:

  • Aims: What do you hope to achieve by introducing active learning techniques?
  • Changes: Do you intend to start with small changes, introducing short activities to an existing session, or make major changes from the outset?
  • Timing: When will you introduce the changes?
  • Expectations: What are your students existing expectations? Will you need to explain the changes to them?

Case studies 

Further reading