Academic Technology Center
Teaching with Technology Collaboratory

Seven Principles at WPI: Technology as a Lever Principle Three: Good Practice Uses Active Learning Techniques

November 6, 2006

In 1987, Chickering and Gamson first published their “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.” In 1996, Chickering and Erhmann published a follow-up to this original essay taking into consideration the new and innovative technologies available at that time that would enable the implementation of these principles in the classroom entitled “Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever.”

In this monthly newsletter series, we explore ways faculty at WPI can implement the Seven Principles into their undergraduate and graduate courses using many of the technologies and resources supported by the Academic Technology Center.

Last month, we explored the second principle, “Good Practice Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students.” This month, we will explore the third principle, “Good Practice Uses Active Learning Techniques.”

Chickering and Ehrmann wrote, "Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers” (1996). Active learning, as indicated by the name, is where students are actively engaged in the learning process. The lab component to most WPI courses and the project-based learning experience are just two examples of active learning at WPI. There are also many tools and simulations available at WPI that encourage active learning techniques.

For ideas and tips on incorporating active learning into your course, visit the following:

Next month we will explore the fourth principle, “Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback.”


Chickering, A.W. & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 39(7), 3-7.