Students' expectations, types of instruction, and instructor strategies predicting student response to active learning

Kevin Nguyen, Jenefer Husman, Maura Borrego, Prateek Shekhar, Michael Prince, Matt DeMonbrun, Cynthia Finelli, Charles Henderson, Cynthia Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Engineering instructors' adoption of active learning has been slow, despite significant evidence supporting its efficacy. A common instructor concern is that students will respond negatively. This study measures the relationship between student response to instruction and 1) students' expectations for types of instruction, 2) students' experiences of different types of instruction, and 3) instructor strategies for using in-class activities. Student Response to Instructional Practices (StRIP) survey data from 179 students at three U.S. institutions were analyzed using hierarchical linear regression modeling. Significant predictors in the final models of student response were student expectations of active learning lecture and passive lecture, experiences of group based activities, and instructor strategies for explaining and facilitating active learning. These empirical results support recommendations in prior literature about best practices for reducing student resistance and demonstrate that instructors have great power to influence student reactions to active learning and ultimately reduce student resistance. There was no evidence in this data set to support the common concern that instructor or course evaluations are negatively affected by adopting active learning strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-18
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


  • Active learning
  • Engagement
  • Instructional methods
  • Regression modeling


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