Instructor strategies to aid implementation of active learning: a systematic literature review

Kevin A. Nguyen, Maura Borrego, Cynthia J. Finelli, Matt DeMonbrun, Caroline Crockett, Sneha Tharayil, Prateek Shekhar, Cynthia Waters, Robyn Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Despite the evidence supporting the effectiveness of active learning in undergraduate STEM courses, the adoption of active learning has been slow. One barrier to adoption is instructors’ concerns about students’ affective and behavioral responses to active learning, especially student resistance. Numerous education researchers have documented their use of active learning in STEM classrooms. However, there is no research yet that systematically analyzes these studies for strategies to aid implementation of active learning and address students’ affective and behavioral responses. In this paper, we conduct a systematic literature review and identify 29 journal articles and conference papers that researched active learning, affective and behavioral student responses, and recommended at least one strategy for implementing active learning. In this paper, we ask: (1) What are the characteristics of studies that examine affective and behavioral outcomes of active learning and provide instructor strategies? (2) What instructor strategies to aid implementation of active learning do the authors of these studies provide? Results: In our review, we noted that most active learning activities involved in-class problem solving within a traditional lecture-based course (N = 21). We found mostly positive affective and behavioral outcomes for students’ self-reports of learning, participation in the activities, and course satisfaction (N = 23). From our analysis of the 29 studies, we identified eight strategies to aid implementation of active learning based on three categories. Explanation strategies included providing students with clarifications and reasons for using active learning. Facilitation strategies entailed working with students and ensuring that the activity functions as intended. Planning strategies involved working outside of the class to improve the active learning experience. Conclusion: To increase the adoption of active learning and address students’ responses to active learning, this study provides strategies to support instructors. The eight strategies are listed with evidence from numerous studies within our review on affective and behavioral responses to active learning. Future work should examine instructor strategies and their connection with other affective outcomes, such as identity, interests, and emotions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalInternational Journal of STEM Education
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

Keywords

  • Active learning
  • Instructor strategies; student response
  • Systematic review

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Instructor strategies to aid implementation of active learning: a systematic literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this