• Academic Technology

Making More Time For Active Learning Without Experiencing Burnout

Students who learn by doing perform better.  

Experienced educators know that in order to maximize the knowledge that their students walk away with, they must find a balance between active and passive learning. Over the last two decades, educators have watched (and often, dove in) as a wave of new and experimental course designs sought to strategically allow for more active learning during class time.

Today, prevailing wisdom from the academic community says that making more time for active learning in class is often best done by moving traditional in-class learning online — a shift in methodology commonly referred to as blended learning.

But this is often easier said than done. And for many instructors, the effort required to implement and sustain a new pedagogical approach like the flipped classroom can quickly result in personal exhaustion.

Blended learning, no matter the model, is never a one-size-fits-all solution as there are endless possible ways to make more time for active learning. So how does one transition to a new course design model without creating a lot of extra work and experiencing faculty burnout?

The answer: By making intelligent use of technology to gradually transition parts of your in-class instructional strategies to digital formats that can be accessed by students online.

This too may seem like a daunting task — but it doesn’t have to be.

Related Reading: Four Models of Blended Learning: Which is right for you?

Transitioning Course Material Online To Make Time for Active Learning

Just as you don’t have to add more work to the student’s plate to make more time for active learning, you don’t have to overwhelm yourself, either. You can still take the same approach to planning the instructional content in your courses — you just also want to take a few moments to begin identifying instructional materials or strategies that can be moved online as well.

Today’s video tools can make the process of capturing and creating online course content much easier than it used to be. And remember, you don’t have to create all of your digital content at one time — it’s perfectly fine to embrace a blended learning methodology little by little over time. Consider the following strategies for using video technologies to begin moving selected course materials online:

1. Record The Lectures You Repeat Most Often

Lecture capture software makes it simple to record your lectures either in-class as you would normally present them, or outside of class in your office. And you don’t even have to record the entire lecture – you can start by recording smaller chunks of content for students to view outside of class. This concept, typically called microlearning, has many benefits of its own, including better retention and increased engagement.

Making time for active learning with Ron Harris-Warrick, Menschel Distinguished Teaching Fellow, William T. Keeton Professor, Biological Sciences.

2. Move Online Discussions From Text to Video

Participating in text-based class discussions can feel like a chore, so why not try a new medium to encourage participation that really impacts learning? The same video platform that allows you to easily capture lecture content can be used by students to share arguments on a discussion topic or short presentations in video form. As an added benefit, completing video discussion assignments can help arm students with valuable presentation skills that can significantly impact their success after college.

3. Utilize Interactive Quizzing

Get students to think more critically about your lessons. With the interactive quizzing feature in your lecture capture software you can move in-class quizzes online or create additional mini-quizzes that reinforce key concepts.

As you create and edit your lecture-based course content, also start adding quizzes that help improve knowledge retention and engage students. This will help free up small chunks of class time that add up over time, allowing you to schedule more active learning activities during class.

Interested in learning more about active learning? Check out one of our most popular blogs: What Is Active Learning And Why Does It Work?