Implementation Group: Active Learning


Participants will share how they have incorporated active learning into their courses thus far, identify active learning strategies they would like to add to their toolkit, and develop at least one new teaching activity incorporating an active learning strategy.

Discussion series goals

The goals of this series are for participants to expand their knowledge of active learning strategies; share what active learning strategies and activities they've used in their courses; and explore new ideas for using active learning to support student learning of challenging geoscience topics and concepts.

Structure and format

Prior to the first meeting:

  • Participants review the active learning posters (linked from our page on how to use active learning) to refresh their memories about various pedagogical approaches to active learning
  • Participants post to a discussion board:
    • What active learning techniques you have used in the past;
    • What benefits you have observed from using them;
    • What challenges, if any, you've encountered with them; and
    • Which strategies you haven't used yet and want to incorporate into your teaching
  • Participants read and comment on each other's posts

1st meeting:

  • Discussion of the benefits and challenges of various active learning strategies, as indicated in the discussion board, including strategies for overcoming the challenges
  • Form small groups (trios?) that will serve as peer reviewers and advisors as participants search for or develop a new teaching activity. Groups can be based on active learning strategy to be used, course(s) in which they will be deployed, or some combination thereof.

Prior to the second meeting:

  • Each participant identifies a course topic for which they will adapt or develop an active learning activity, a specific learning goal they want students to achieve, and a list of active learning strategies they are considering using
  • Small groups review each other's plans and comment:
    • Which of the active learning strategies seem like the best match for the learning goal? Why?
    • Optional: Share any resources you have that seem directly relevant

2nd meeting:

  • Each participant briefly describes what they are planning to find or develop, along with any questions they have about implementation. If other participants have suggestions or resources, they share those via the chat window.

Prior to the third meeting:

  • Participants search the SERC activity collection for existing activities that they might adopt or adapt
  • Participants post to the discussion board EITHER
    • a link to an activity, new to them, that they plan to use or adapt, OR
    • a BRIEF description of an activity they plan to develop
  • Small groups review each other's plans and offer feedback.

3rd meeting:

  • Participants share EITHER
    • what they did and how it went;
    • what they are planning and what questions they still have


We scheduled 3 weeks between each of the 3 synchronous discussions in this series, to allow ample time for the asynchronous activities.

Additional resources

Pedagogy in Action: