40 Active Learning Strategies

Learning Pyramid and Student Knowledge Retention: lecture, less than 10%; reading, 10%; audiovisual, 20%; demonstration, 30%; discussion, 50%; practice doing, 75%; teach others, 90%


"40 Active Learning Strategies for Active Students" (web pages; Word) lists and explains 40 practical, in-class strategies to engage students. A sample of the suggestions is included below:

4. "When students have a passage, chapter, or other text to read, guide them through it with active learning strategies such as these":

  • "A scrambled list of events to put in order"
  • "A list of statements for students to agree or disagree with"
  • "A list of people and places to match with information about them"
  • "A cause-and-effect chart"
  • "Give students a set of questions that they will answer as they read the text. Discuss the questions before they read in order to see what information they already have. Help them see how the questions are aligned with the text and how they should answer them."
  • "Give students a checklist of the key points to watch for so that they can check them off as they find them while reading."

11. "Ask students to involve themselves in their learning by using review strategies such as these":

  • "Associate body motions with the material"
  • "Quiz themselves"
  • "Use colored pens to rewrite the main ideas"
  • "Recite or sing the information"
  • "Create mnemonic devices"
  • "Teach the information to a classmate"
  • "Create a vivid image of the topic"
  • "Restate information in their own words"
  • "Create a quiz and give it to a classmate"

36. "Exit tickets have been around for a long time because their appeal to students and teachers alike is powerful."

"Try some of these sentence starters to engage all of your students. You could even post these for students to refer to during class."

  • "Today I learned…"
  • "I was surprised when…"
  • "I’m beginning to wonder…"
  • "I think I will…"
  • "I would have liked…"
  • "Now I understand…"
  • "Class would be more interesting if…"
  • "I can be more successful in this class if I…"
  • "I wish…"
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