The Active Learning Platform (ALP) can help you create an active learning experience in the classroom for your students. ALP has several features that you can use to encourage student participation and real-time feedback to help facilitate an Active Class.

What is an active class?

Lectures are traditionally a passive experience for students because they are teacher-focused (i.e. students watching a lecturer speak to a series of slides). An Active Class, on the other hand, is learner focused. It involves students participating in discussion, activities, games, group work or problem solving in the classroom.

How do I start using ALP?

  1. Add a link from your unit in LEO to the Active Learning Platform.
  2. Make a Class for each of the lectures or tutorials that you wish to run.
  3. Create a Presentation for each Class to use as your teaching materials.
  4. Learn how to use the ALP functions during your active classes.

You may also wish to learn more about active learning teaching strategies by following some of the links provided in the section below.

How can ALP help me run an active class?

ALP has a range of functions that you as an instructor can use in the classroom to assist in running class activities. An active class will most likely will involve activities and discussion outside of the functions provided, however ALP can be used to:

  • Add questions and/or polls to your lecture materials, and display answers or results in real-time.
  • Field questions from your students for discussion, anonymously if you wish.
  • Allow students to flag content that they find confusing or requiring further explanation.
  • Enable students to take their own notes on content, which are saved in the Presentation.

Your Presentations can be accessed by students during class, through a lab computer, a personal laptop, or even via a smartphone. Most interactions are saved with the Presentation for review and analysis later. Presentations can be included as part of automatically scheduled lectures, or classes that you create yourself in ALP.

What other functions does ALP provide?

  • Classroom recording
    You can record (capture) your class (where facilities are available) using the Lecture Capture system and make the recording available to the class for later review by you and your students.
  • Data analytics
    You can review data on your classes to see what students viewed, made notes on, or flagged as confusing.
  • Cloud storage
    Your lecture materials, interactions, and recordings are all conveniently saved in the ALP system online.

Why use active learning?

Designing for active learning

The following resources provide some examples of teaching activities that you may wish to use in your teaching, which can be supported by the functionality available in ALP:

The Teaching online pedagogical repository (TOPR) also provides an extensive list of examples of engagement through Active Learning). For inspiration, the Merlot pedagogy community portal has a lot of resources for active learning teaching strategies.

How can I prepare students for active learning?

This resource on active learning from Melbourne University is intended for students, and aims to inform and justify the use of Active Learning as an enhanced learning method.

How can I overcome student resistance to active learning?

This Active learning website from University of Minnesota explores key objections students may have to Active Learning and proposes strategies to overcome any resistance, as well as a range of other useful information and resources.

In Semester 2, 2017 two units participated in a pilot project to investigate an unexplored feature available from the ALP platform. The confusion flag feature was explored towards engaging students in live lectures. One unit from the Thomas Moore Law School and one unit from the Peter Faber Business School participated in the pilot over four weeks.

Highlights

  • Exploring the Confusion Flag in the ALP Platform
  • Using technology to engage students in live lectures
  • Creating an opportunity for students to flag confusion anonymously

Starla Hagita describes her experience of participating in the pilot project.

ACU Case study: Engaging students using ECHO360 ALP confusion flag (7 mins)
This video was recorded using the Faculty of Law and Business Pop Up Studio. This footage was edited using Adobe Premiere Pro and branding animations created from the ACU Motion Pack using Adobe After Effects.

For more information refer to Blended unit case studies; interviews include ACU academic staff discussing their approaches to blended learning. Each page outlines further details about the structure and approach within these units

Learning & teaching

Please contact the Learning and Teaching Centre for professional development, resources and advice for your learning and teaching needs at ACU.

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