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ERIC Number: EJ1127732
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2159-0281
Employing Active Learning Strategies to Become the Facilitator, Not the Authoritarian: A Literature Review
Patton, Cheryl M.
Journal of Instructional Research, v4 p134-141 2015
Traditional higher education instruction involves an authoritarian educator who is charged with delivering information in lecture format to passive students. Within the past few decades, a new approach has gained popularity. Active learning allows the students to become more involved in their own learning. The educator becomes more of a facilitator than an authoritarian ruler in the classroom. The purpose of this literature review is to explore the historical underpinnings of active learning, its relevance in pedagogy and contemporary research. Also examined are several active learning strategies that can be utilized in the classroom, including lecturing with pause procedures, the flipped classroom, clickers, peer review and games. At one time, the idea of the college classroom was uniformity. The educator stood at the front of the room and lectured at his or her students. That instructor was the authority, the all-knowing leader who poured wisdom to the students while they busily took notes. That was then. The realm of education has changed dramatically over the past few decades. In the 1980s, educators began to look beyond that passive learning strategy and the words active learning were gaining popularity (Berek, 2013). A broad definition for active learning is "anything that involves students doing things and thinking about the things they are doing." (Bonwell & Wilson, 1991, p. 4) Traditionally, homework primarily fulfilled this type of learning (Prince, 2004). Today, in order to improve pedagogy, the traditional educator-centric role of lecturing to students is augmented with active learning strategies in the classroom (Bren, Hilleman, & Topp, 1998). The purpose of this literature review is to explore empirical research findings on more active learning pedagogies and to share some strategies that educators can use to incorporate more active learning in the classroom. A literature review is written to accomplish several tasks. The review divulges findings of empirical studies related to the topic of examination. Creswell (2014) notes that it "relates a study to the larger, ongoing dialogue in the literature, filling in gaps and extending prior studies" (p.28). This literature review includes the underpinnings of the active learning pedagogical style, active learning research findings and the application of active learning in the classroom.
Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching at Grand Canyon University. 3300 West Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85017. Tel: 602-639-6729; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A