Active Learning: How Do You Know It Worked?

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Evaluation of Student Learning

Did the students successfully meet the learning objectives as a result of the active learning strategy? Determine how you will evaluate the learning experience (learning effectiveness in achieving the objectives), and what you will evaluate (relevance in achieving satisfaction). The purpose (i.e., learning objective) of the activity is to help you assess student learning in a formative or summative manner.

If you intend to have participation in active learning activities count towards a class participation grade, it is important to clearly explain what counts as effective participation to avoid confusion or uncertainty among students. If necessary, make sure to relay that effective participation does not need to be limited to talking in section meetings but also online, during recitation sections, during office hours, etc.

Evaluation of Active Learning Strategy

You should take the time to evaluate your active learning strategies in terms of the strategy choice and its effectiveness to communicate complex concepts and explanations based on student results.

Employ both formative and summative measures to also help gauge the effectiveness of the strategy. Active learning strategies can be evaluated by comparing before and after results of student assignments, quizzes, or test submissions. Additionally, eliciting feedback from students on whether or not they feel that that activities aided their learning can indicate success of the strategy.