Share the Future IV
Isn't Engineering Education Already "Active"? Workshop

Active Learning: I Know It When I See It!
(A 2-hour Lecture?)

John Wise
Engineering Instructional Services
College of Engineering
The Pennsylvania State University

Okay, it’s not REALLY a 2-hour lecture. (Whew!)

This handout provides space for you to complete the activities involved in this workshop. Copies of the power-point slides will be available from the facilitator when the workshop has been completed.


Given time constraints, we will limit introductions to Name and Teaching Responsibilities.

Goal Matching Exercise

In the space provided below, please list at least two and probably no more than four goals that you have for this workshop. What do you hope to learn / be able to do as a result of attending this workshop?

Prioritize your goals for the workshop. Label the highest priority a “1”.

After groups are formed, share your highest priority goal. Do you have any in common with your group? Your group should write any common goals on the chart pack, then add any “Top Priority” items that were not shared.

How well do your goals match the goals of the workshop?

Brainstorming Procedures:

Record ALL input
Reserve judgment and comments until input is complete
Collapse items where possible (Originator must agree)
Condense into a “Consensus Definition”

Question to Brainstorm: What is “Active Learning”?

Record items on chart pack.


If your group reaches consensus on a common definition, record it here and on your chart pack:

Is All Learning “Active”?

What Do You Think?

In pairs, discuss your opinions and thoughts on both the definition we have talked about and the brainstorming process. Do you agree with the definition? Why or why not?

What Active Learning Strategies Have We Used So Far?

Some Strategies

This is another group exercise using the chart packs. Use the following space as directed by the facilitator.


List the three most interesting items and why you find them interesting.

“Turn to your neighbor”—Discuss your choices and reasoning with a neighbor.

Strategy Resource

Penn State’s Shreyer Institute Web Page: Go to “Tools”, then “ALEx”, for the Active Learning Exchange. This site is an interactive database, allowing you to add your own strategies as well as to search the existing ones.


What should you consider when selecting an active-learning strategy?


Thanks for your participation!



For more information contact

Related Links:









Partner Links