Active Learning Strategies
How do YOU get engaged in learning? Students participating in a QEP Faculty Member's class are benefiting from a variety of enhancements to their course content, including the following:
- Introduction to the Study Cycle
- Instruction that emphasizes self-regulated learning
- Emphasis on metacognitive awareness
- Opportunity to take the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory
The Learning and Study Strategies Inventory is an assessment measure through which an individual self-reports attitudes and behaviors toward learning in the following ten areas: anxiety, motivation, selecting main ideas, test strategies, information processing, attitude, concentration, use of study aids, time management, and self-testing behaviors.
Faculty learning communities have been the subject of much study in the past decade. We wanted to know what would happen when peers from a variety of disciplines at a technical college gathered on a regular basis to discuss teaching and learning with the intention of redesigning one course based on what they learned in the group. Faculty peer groups meet for one year (summer, fall, and spring semesters). They work through the text How Learning Works by Ambrose, et. al., during their first few weeks together, then they transition to discussion of a redesign of one course. Their course redesign is implemented in the fall and spring semesters. During each semester, the QEP Director visits the classroom to administer the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory to the students both at the beginning and the end of the term. The faculty peer group continues to meet in the fall and spring terms, although less frequently; when they meet, they discuss teaching and learning topics, as well as the progress of their courses. At the end of the fall term, they evaluate their redesign effort and its impact on students and the environment for learning. At the end of the spring term, the group evaluates their work throughout the entire program.
Why engage in the challenging practice of redesigning a course? We embraced the idea that a reflective practitioner should always be seeking a better way to engage students, and so we created the opportunity to innovate with this purpose in mind. Over the course of a summer, our QEP faculty work together to share best practices from their very different classrooms, then they imagine a new way of doing what they have always done.