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"Active Learning" – what is it? post-mortem

Title: "Active Learning" – what is it?
When and where: 1pm, Monday 8th October 2018, room F121 (computing science)
Occasion: CCSE reading group     (Events listing)

Matt Barr,   School of Computing,   University of Glasgow.

Steve Draper,   School of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

Slides: PDF
Audio recording: mp2 file
Related material:


Matt Barr and Steve Draper will offer a discussion of what "active learning" is or should be. Elements covered include:

Self-review after the event (post-mortem) #pm

The presentation provided a quick tour of some theories about "active learning". While many people / papers do not have a clear and defined view about what it is, other than not "simply lecturing", not all "AL"s are the same either in format or in learning gains. Some important differences between types have been established experimentally. The references for the talk allow those interested to follow up on this.

What the talk lacked, was specific cases (of AL) analysed in detail. My suggestion now is, that there is much to be gained by writing out the ILOs (Intended Learning Objectives; or rather, the designer's aims for the activity) for each specific "active learning" activity, either already implemented or in preparation. This brings out the complexity of good designs; the diverse things that may be gained; and how much is usually implicit in the practice of excellent teachers.

I've done one of these for an AL by Joe Maguire, and hope to post that here when written up.

I think a good follow-up CCSE session would be to present one or two or three of these worked cases. My sense is, that the space of possible ALs is huge; that only a fraction of them will work well; but that we can understand more by analysing the successful ones.