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Center for Excellence in Spires Teaching and Learning: 7 Innovative Practices for Active Learning

University of Saint Mary's site for teaching and learning resources and professional development opportunities

Innovative Practices for Active Learning  

Competency-Based Education Students work at their own pace and demonstrate mastery of predetermined skills. This allows for personalization in student learning for those who can learn concepts at a faster rate than their peers or might need more time to practice a particular concept 

Flipping the Classroom Students gain first exposure to new material outside of class, usually via reading or lecture videos, and then use class time to do the harder work of assimilating that knowledge, perhaps through problem-solving, discussion, or debates. 

Inquiry-based Learning Students pose the questions and research and convert the information into useful knowledge, thus ramping up the level of student engagement. This strategy is designed to spark curiosity because students develop questions that they are hungry to answer, research the answers and share what they learn with others.  

Interdisciplinary Instruction Allows for the use and integration of methods and analytical frameworks from more than one academic discipline to examine a theme, issue, question or topic. Interdisciplinary education makes use of disciplinary approaches to examine topics, but pushes beyond by: taking insights from a variety of relevant disciplines, synthesizing their contribution to understanding, and then integrating these ideas into a more complete, and hopefully coherent, framework of analysis. Interdisciplinary courses can be team taught, but not required. 

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Students engage complex, challenging problems and collaboratively work toward their resolution. PBL is about students connecting disciplinary knowledge to real-world problems—the motivation to solve a problem becomes the motivation to learn. 

Team Teaching, which is also called collaborative teaching or co-teaching, is an instructional strategy in which two or more teachers are responsible for teaching a course or a group of students. Two instructors plan and teach a course (often interdisciplinary) to help students connect a topic of study to a larger concept or theme. Usually, workload is divided equally between two instructors and they plan the course, teach and grade together.  

Technology Integration is defined as the use of technology to enhance and support the educational environment. In this model, the technology use supports teaching and learning.