Create An Active Learning Environment

In order for students to gain knowledge from the presentation of information, they should actively participate in their learning. "Active learning provides opportunities for students to talk and listen, read, write, and reflect as they approach course content through problem-solving exercises, informal small groups, simulations, case studies, role playing, in class questions and other activities, all of which require students to apply what they are learning and/or think about what they are learning as they are learning" (Lubawy, 2003).

Examples of Sakai use

  1. Provide case studies, quizzes, and problems for students to study, reflect upon and answer to their best ability.
  2. Have students prepare a “minute paper” to answer “what was the most important thing you learned in this class?” and “what important question remains unanswered?” (Cross & Angelo, 1993, pp. 148-153). Have the students submit this paper to the Digital DropBox.
  3. Design electronic slide presentations 7 to 10 minute segments. Post the slides in Course Documents. Then link students to a short Sakai quiz or Discussion Board forum with questions about the materials they just studied.
  4. Provide links to useful resources on the web.
  5. Consider using the glossary to encourage students to expand their knowledge of the vocabulary of the discipline.
  6. Post weekly learning achievements.
  7. Use the Discussion Board to promote active participation outside of class. Include topics that require some research. Discussions can be used for course content or open content of student interest.
  8. Consider holding virtual classroom sessions to deliver problems or questions. Consider having students compete to respond first. If quantitative, have them show their work.
  9. Assign students to develop a lesson/unit for the rest of the class to do. The student can send it through the Digital DropBox, and the instructor can then post it as a Course Document or Assignment.

General best practices of active learning from current educational models

  1. Create situations in which students become actively involved, physically and mentally, in order to learn more and learn more effectively and make it meaningful. Have them talk about it, write about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their lives (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996, p. 3).
  2. Deliver lecture material in 7 to 10 minute segments, then pause to ask pre-planned rhetorical questions. Have the students record their answers in their notes (Drummond, 2002, p. 1).
  3. Have students rehearse and prepare a lesson ahead of time, deliver it to a group (classmates) and receive feedback (Angelo, 1993, p. 4).
  4. Have students paraphrase a main idea or concept in a couple of sentences to a specific audience. Then have the students paraphrase the same explanation to a completely different audience (parents, children, professionals, novices, experts, etc.) Assess the paraphrases for accuracy and appropriateness (p. 4).
  5. Provide opportunities for students to perform apprentice-like activities (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996, p. 3).
  6. Have students research concepts relating to specific subjects on the Internet or in the Library. Make them aware of and accountable for the proper procedure for reporting and annotating correctly.
  7. Have students simulate techniques using or producing computer activities.
  8. Promote the development of insight by designing models.