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CAPTIvatE: Building Blocks for Implementing Active Learning

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Document pages: 36 pages

Abstract: Active learning is an instructional model that focuses on shifting the responsibility for learning to students by increasing engagement. However, the lack of a comprehensive structure for guiding faculty in designing active learning courses makes it a challenge to create an effective learning environment and a positive experience for instructors and students. We propose a set of key elements which impact the success of an active learning implementation: content delivery, active learning methods, physical environment, technology enhancement, incentive alignment, and educator investment. These constitute the basic elements that should be considered in developing and implementing an active learning course, dividing the design of such a course into manageable components. Our proposed scheme and the related benefits are illustrated and evaluated for three courses. Through a range of metrics we present preliminary evidence that students in courses implementing these elements learn more while exerting similar effort, demonstrate greater understanding of course content, and establish closer connections with fellow students as well as instructors. These outcomes plainly demonstrate the benefits of this approach, and place a clear impetus on instructors to consider the use of this schema in their courses.

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