821 Sainte-Croix, Montréal, Québec Canada H4L 3X9 | Tel: 514.744.7500 | Toll-Free: 1.855.744.7500 | Fax: 514.744.7505


Pedagogical Development Office

Active Learning

What is Active Learning?

Active learning (AL) is a term used to suggest a pedagogical approach in which classroom instruction involves engaging students in their own learning through class activities. Examples of these activities include discussing, writing, reading, reflecting, problem-solving, and questioning. In other words, rather than listening to a lecture, taking notes, or following instructions, students are being active in class! As they participate in class activities that involve group learning, problem solving, or inquiry-based learning, students construct their own knowledge and build new skills.

There is a large number of active learning strategies that can be used in the classroom. Students can be instructed to work individually or collaboratively, and strategies can take as little as two minutes or as long as an entire class time.

Why Employ Active Learning in Your Classroom?

Research has shown that AL improves students’ understanding and retention of information and, when properly employed, can be highly effective in helping students develop higher order cognitive skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.