Faculty Development

  • active learning resources

Active Learning

Active learning is "a student-centered approach to the construction of knowledge focused on activities and strategies that foster higher-order thinking" (Doolittle et al., 2023). With active learning, students are actively engaged in creating their own knowledge about material through problem-solving, wading through complex issues, discussions, and writing. There are a number of practices you can use in class or online, with technology or without, that can help put students in the driver's seat, moving them from the passive learning experience into an active one. 

This page offers a number of resources developed here at CSUN and from other institutions for instructors interested in incorporating active learning strategies in their courses that can be completed online or through workshops with fellow faculty.

Greetings, Maple Hall Instructors!

We have a special resources page to help you as you settle into your new classroom.

Faculty Development Programming

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Teaching Toolkit

FacDev’s Teaching Toolkit page on active learning strategies includes tips for success and step-by-step instructions for three strategies you can use in your courses.

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Get Up to Speed with Active Learning

This self-paced, asynchronous program provides guidance, resources, and support to faculty who want to incorporate active learning strategies into their teaching. Available in the spring 2024 semester.

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Active Learning Ambassadors

CSUN’s Active Learning Ambassadors program consists of an interdisciplinary team of faculty, passionate about promoting active learning techniques in the classroom. Check out the webpage to learn more.

Resources Outside CSUN

Many universities are encouraging faculty to incorporate active learning into their courses, and here are a few resources that you might find helpful.

10 Steps to Getting Started with Active Learning

Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching provides a thorough introduction to active learning and a cheat sheet with 10 steps to get started with active learning on its Active Learning page.

Introduction to Active Learning

Harvard University’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning provides a general introduction to active learning and details about a few strategies, such as leading discussions and problem solving in STEM courses, on its Active Learning page.

Aligning Active Learning Strategies with Learning Goals

The Teaching and Learning Center at UC Santa Cruz has an Active Learning page, which includes resources to help you decide which active learning strategy to use based on your goals for a class session. It also includes a video where instructors and students share their thoughts about incorporating active learning into large lecture classes.

Flipped Classroom Approach

If you are interested in trying a flipped classroom approach where students gain knowledge prior to class and then apply that knowledge through activities during class time, the Center for Teaching and Learning at The University of Texas at Austin has a page about flipped classrooms.

Active Learning Strategies and Approaches

Supporting Active Learning & Technological Innovation in Studies of Education (SALTISE) is a learning community in Canada dedicated to encouraging the use of active learning in higher education. The Strategies and Approaches page provides helpful information about how to implement specific active learning strategies.