Examining instructional change: An observational study of engineering instructors' use of active learning

Prateek Shekhar, Maura Borrego

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Research has shown the positive impact of instructional change efforts on the use of active learning. However, most of the research on adoption of these practices is based on self-report. Instructor self-report of pedagogical practices may differ significantly from actual practice and often limits examination of factors influencing the change. This study presents an observational examination of instructional change rather than commonly used self-report approaches. We conducted a case study examining instructional change with two engineering instructors using active learning. Using classroom observations as our primary data source, we refined our explanations and triangulated our findings with instructor interviews and student focus groups. Although overall positive student response was received for the two courses, variations in student engagement were observed between and within the implemented active learning types. We provide evidence on the influence of instructors' beliefs on active learning use, its resulting impact on student engagement and present implications for instructional change efforts and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1712-1725
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


  • Active learning
  • Instructional change
  • Instructor beliefs
  • Student engagement


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