From simple (less effort) to complex (more effort).

Earlier this week, my colleague (thanks Verily!) introduced this incredible list of Assessment and Learning activities curated by University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT). I was impressed by how CRLT created a whole website dedicated to advancing teaching and learning through “active learning”. Some key nuggets include:

  • explanations on how “active learning” differs from “engaged learning”
  • how it can be in flipped classroom settings
  • examples of how their university have implemented active learning in classrooms
  • tools to measure its effectiveness

Active Learning activities

I liked their list so much that I created this infographic to help remember my top 10. To find out more about how each activity supports your students’ learning, check out this short article.

From simple (less effort) to complex (more effort).

Closer to home, within LumiNUS or Canvas, our FM can consider:

  • Adding a pre-post quiz (non-graded) just to let students do simple self-assessment on how much they know before and after the lesson
  • Setting up a forum for group discussion
  • Setting up a Quiz to help students organize responses by topic via Minute paper
  • Inserting a URL to link a Miro board so that students can have a collaborative whiteboard for brainstorming, and peer review by sharing / commenting on other students’ works
  • Setting up a page, insert your scenarios and have students engage in Role Playing
  • Using Jigsaw activity to let students to become experts in specific topics

Outside of LMS, FM can incorporate virtual visits (VR programs) or actual site visits to real locations. E.g. venues that show architectural heritage so as to give an experiential feel.

Creating learning activities within your LMS (Canvas)

Pareto Principle (80-20 rule)

Realistically, a faculty member (FM) should not simply just pick any of the tools from the list above. Each addition to the existing lesson plan will take time to implement and maintain.

FM and students at NUS lead active lives which means that they have very tight schedules. For any intervention to existing courses to be sustainable, the recommendations to my NUS FMs must be manageable. Hence, the 10 choices I selected follow the 80-20 rule. I.e. it requires minimal effort (20%) while reaping maximum benefits (80%). In other words, our resources (time & energy) are finite, so 80-20 helps us to get the most bang for our buck.

Before jumping in, it’s best that the FM be aware of the work involved and be able to sustain it for subsequent semesters. Fortunately, our NUS TEL-Evangelists are here to advise our FM 🙂

Active learning and BL2.0

As I combed through CRLT’s wonderful resource site, I reflected upon the impact and outcomes of our own NUS BL2.0 initiative. How do NUS faculty, students feel about the blended learning experience?

How do we strategize incorporating more elements of active learning into the online and face-to-face lessons so that it becomes a catalyst rather than an impetus for deep learning?

In a few months time, when NUS AY22/23 concludes, our initial BL2.0 courses (e.g. DTK1234A, PF2108, etc.) that were launched during Semester 1, will give us invaluable feedback from students, FM, service providers and other stakeholders. Look forward to then sharing our findings and future plans on how the BL team is continuing to enhance the teaching and learning experience at NUS.

Benedict Chia

20 Aug 2022

Active Learning