Isn't Engineering Education Already "Active"?
John C. Wise
Pennsylvania State University
There has been quite a lot of talk about "active learning"
in higher education. Concrete definitions are difficult to find,
and it seems that no single standard can be applied. An interesting
quote attributed to Euclid can be found on the active learning Web
site at http://www.active-learning-site.com/:
"Most ideas about teaching are not new, but not everyone knows
the old ideas."
In this workshop, participants will be asked to work together to both define active
learning and generate a list of active-learning techniques that could be used
by engineering educators in a variety of situations. Many workshop participants
will be surprised to see the breadth of activities that can be grouped under the
rubric of active learning. In the process of carrying out this work, the participants
will themselves be immersed in an active-learning environment and experience many
of the most common techniques employed in adult learning situations.
the completion of this workshop, participants should have an increased understanding
of active learning at a practical versus theoretical level, recognizing both how
they are and how they are not using this approach in their own teaching. In several
sessions at Penn State, participants have been relieved to find that active-learning
techniques need not be mysterious threats but are rather additional tools for
the teacher to bring to any appropriate learning situation.
Workshop participants will generate
- An acceptable
definition of "active learning" in engineering education
of active learning techniques appropriate to large classes, the use of technology,
and general learning situations
- A list of situations in which active learning
as defined in this workshop would not be appropriate