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:
- Chrys Demetry’s Faculty Story: How the Classroom Performance System (CPS) Aids in Teaching and Learning. See how Professor Chrys Demetry uses active learning in her Intro to Materials Science course while also receiving feedback based on how well her students are learning the course material.
- Classroom Performance (clicker) System
- Motivating Your Students. Learn how you can motivate your students to take an active role in their education.
- Encouraging Student Responsibility for Learning
- Declan De Paor’s Faculty Story: The Use of Learning Objects in the Classroom. Professor De Paor uses simulations in his courses that enable his students to visually represent their predictions.
- WPI's Learning Object Repository
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.