Growing from developments in adult, cognitive, and educational research, active learning
responds to traditional lecture formats with more engaged activities that invite students
to participate in learning, including developing conceptual awareness, applying knowledge
through experience, and transferring skills across contexts.
Using the Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) Classroom for Courses that Emphasize
The Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) classroom is a resource at Yale University
that can facilitate a dynamic learning environment. This classroom is located at 17
Hillhouse Avenue Room 101 and is equipped with round tables for small group work,
multiple projectors, screens, whiteboards, and a podium with the ability to project
all around the rooom.
Effective Class Discussions
Class discussions can be utilized in seminar and lecture courses, and their variety
allows instructors to fit particular strategies to class needs. This flexibility stems
largely from grounding in Vygotskyian social learning theory, which emphasizes knowledge
and conceptual gain through peer-to-peer dialogue.
Case-based learning (CBL) is an established approach used across disciplines where
students apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios, promoting higher levels of
cognition. In CBL classrooms, students typically work in groups on case studies, or
stories involving one or more characters and/or scenarios. The cases present a disciplinary
problem or problems for which students devise solutions under the guidance of the
Digital resources can be powerful learning tools, provided they are used to support
known student learning processes and clear learning goals. It is the collaborative
and social elements of learning, rather than the depth or flexibility of content often
associated with digital resources, that positively impact the learning process.
Lecture classes are often characterized by monologue and slide presentations, typically
in large halls with auditorium-style fixed seating that privileges content delivery
over interaction and complex learning. Instructors can consider different approaches
to lecture that introduce more active and participatory components, thereby enhancing
higher orders of thinking and learning during class.
Team-based learning (TBL) is a pedagogical strategy that engages student knowledge
through individual testing and group collaboration. Following individual answers,
students join teams and work through problems, appealing when they are incorrect.
This process motivates students by holding them accountable to themselves and one
another, while introducing them to a variety of thought processes devoted to a single
In a flipped classroom, material typically explored in lecture is delivered outside
of class through media like video lectures or digital modules. Class time then focuses
on developing knowledge through active learning strategies like discussion or group
activities. Flipping the classroom has been shown to improve students' conceptual
grasp of content beyond memorization and basic knowledge, and to improve the diversity
and inclusivity of the classroom climate.
Large classes can offer an overwhelming range of student diversity and expectations.
While lecturing presents material to the entire class, research suggests that active
learning and/or flipped components significantly strengthen student performance. These
strategies create smaller groups where peers can grapple with deeper conceptual understanding
and pause to think critically about ideas.
Collaborative learning can be a powerful strategy in the classroom. Group work can
help students uncover and address gaps and misconceptions in knowledge, further develop
their conceptual frameworks, improve their public reasoning and team-based skills,
and free instructors to help students pursue higher order thinking.