Active Learning with Dr. Richard Felder



hi I'm rich Felder in the course of what I do for a living these days I often have occasion to get on various soap boxes and preach the gospel of active and cooperative learning active learning means students doing anything but sitting and listening to a lecture watching and listening to me if I'm the lecture means they're doing something thinking about things cooperative learning means students working together in teams on some sort of a structured exercise not just going off and doing something and handing it in but taking individual responsibility for different pieces of it and also being held accountable for what they do and what everyone else does both of these approaches shift a lot of responsibility from the teacher to the students and the students don't always welcome this shift with open arms and some of them get downright hostile about it but in the long run they learn more they learn at a deeper level they acquire higher-level thinking skills critical thinking creative thinking and they develop better attitudes about the subject and more confidence in themselves and this isn't just me talking I can offer a couple of hundred research studies that back up those claims the question is how do you do all that it's not obvious it's not the sort of thing the teachers are born knowing how to do get students actively involved in their learning and get them working together in productive ways what I want to do in this short video tape is give you some feeling for what the in-class process looks like how you get students working in class even in large classes and how you get them working together the basic procedures the excerpts you're going to see now come from a class that I teach on material and energy balances the introductory chemical engineering course taken in the first semester of the sophomore year this class was given about halfway through the semester so the students already have quite a bit of experience working in active learning groups during classes the first clip comes at the beginning of the period I had just previewed what we were going to cover that day and passed out a copy of my lecture notes containing formulas examples and a number of questions and exercises for us to work through by way of review in what you'll see now I get them into groups assign recorders and give them something to read and discuss if you're in groups of three the one in the middle is going to be recorded for this X for the series of exercises and if there's four of you in the group so there's two of you in the middle flip a coin or just decide on which one of you is going to be recorder and that one prepare to write I'm just going to want one person writing in the series of exercises that you're going to have three or four people talking okay do that for me now just decide who's going to be recorded reporters get it ready okay I want you to take something like one minute and lean over because you only have one of these things to read in your group glanced over quickly the first page it's tough you've all seen before but I want to make sure that we're we're on the same page as it were quickly go through it and if any of you have any questions about what's on that page talk to you talk among yourselves to make sure you've got it quick read on this just to convince yourself that you've seen it all before go notice that most of them get right into it and one of them spots a mistake in the notes which one calls me uh the built in you delta h that BL alpha Rossini's I'm sorry the Delta u in the Delta EIJ that the L Delta minus ending um lets him where are you right here uh I would out – in end yep that's a that's a typo for Delta U and Delta H those subscripts on the second summary should be in while they're working I warned them that I'm going to call on someone for a response to an embedded question in the notes and after a while I stopped them and call on a student and I repeat her answer to make sure that the whole class gets it units on a closed system energy balance equation what does each one have okay joules or kilojoules open system balance equation we think okay joules per second for kilojoules per second joules per second is the same thing as what's alright kilojoules per second kilowatts okay so I did two things in that little scene to help ensure that I was getting as much involvement from the students as possible the first one was to call on individual students for a response rather than just asking a question and looking for volunteers and the second was to alert them ahead of time that I was going to do that if students know that I'm not going to single anyone out then many of them just remain passive during these group exercises and sit there knowing that eventually somebody will provide the answer but if they know that I could land on any of them for a response it motivates them to get into the program and to do whatever they need to do to make sure that they're ready with something when I do call on people in that example I put the students to work individually at first and then I had them get together in groups and synthesize a better answer in the next example I put the students directly to work in groups all right I'd like you in your group to quickly go through this that little series of lines called energy balance and there's a couple of embedded questions in there I'd like you to talk to each other work through the energy balance equation make sure you understand where each one comes for each term comes from and answer the two questions that are embedded there why do we set Delta P equals zero and why are we neglecting Delta e K all right and make sure that you agree with the bottom line Q plus WS is for Delta H hat go talk to each other this is a longer exercise now so I can float into the class and interact with some of the groups which is another way of keeping them on task the key is to mix things up vary the formats so they never know what you're going to do next that's what keeps this approach from getting stale and just as boring as non-stop lecturing aproximately yeah I mean it's a continuous steady state process you can't produce Matt's okay all right so city okay so the M has to be insane and he has to be the same think about it right here why do we neglect bail TEP all right that's it's not we're not feeding the icing at the bottom of a building and taking the steam out at the top no change in height so no change in potential energy all right somebody anybody tell me why we're neglecting kinetic energy change it's the same rate in and out let me careful all right what's what's kinetic energy formula for it one-half MV squared all right so M has to be the same but what else has to be the same velocity is it probably not ice coming in very dense compact steam coming out it's expanded a lot what would you expect as far as velocities go you would expect a big change so what then okay what's going on in this process is a phase change between that clip and the next one i lecturing for about 10 minutes a lot of people who come to my workshops get the idea sometimes that I'm dumping on lecturing that I'm saying don't lecture whatever you do it's a bad technique but that's not at all what I'm saying what I'm saying is to balance the approach do some lecturing some group works on individual work some individual work followed by group work in my classes I still lecture for over half the period in most of my class sessions and sometimes more than that the key again is to mix it up so that they never know what you're going to do next that's what keeps the class interesting this next clip comes about 30 minutes later we've been added in class now for over an hour watch their faces when the camera goes to them um because if you look in the superheated steam tables you can look up 300 degrees C and 1.5 bars and you'll see that you're in the superheated region the saturated conditions are all the way on the left the other thing Jason is I could look up 300 I could look up 1.5 bars in the saturated steam table all right and I can find the temperature what is it somebody get me how much all right 111 point 4 is the temperature corresponding to 1.5 bar saturated steam this is 300 lot more than 111 point 4 therefore the steam must be superheated could you see that they were awakened with me throughout that clip think of what most classes look like after even 20 minutes of straight lecturing even if it's a good lecturer what I think kept them with me throughout that class was the fact that they had something to do periodically and not just sit and watch me and listen to me ok you saw 5 minutes out of a 75 minute class most of the rest of the 70 minutes were me in business as usual lecturing working out problem solutions answering questions I covered what I wanted to cover in that class even with the active learning exercises and over the course of the semester I covered the entire syllabus every bit that I had originally planned to cover contrary to most professors fears when they first hear about these active learning methods that if they do all of those exercises they'll never get through the syllabus but I covered the syllabus in a way that kept most of the students awake for the entire semester and with me and in the course of their learning they were learning both the material in the course and more importantly I think how to work together they learned the same things in their homework which was largely done in groups outside class working in teams under conditions that assured individual accountability in the end they were learning a lot more than material and energy balances they were learning how to rely on one another as resources rather than counting on me as the sole source of wisdom and knowledge and in the end I think that if we as instructors can teach our students how to do that then we're really doing our jobs

9 thoughts on “Active Learning with Dr. Richard Felder”

  1. I hope you dont Break Bad, ; just kidding

    However, your articles and videos indeed has helped me a lot, especially your insight of Active Learning.

    Also, thank you so much for replying my email.

  2. This fit well with the video: http://provost.tufts.edu/celt/files/activelearningtipsheet_march2010.pdf

  3. Thank's for your great insights Dr. Felder. I'm writing a thesis of undergraduation using your ideas about the differences of Learning Styles, especifically using the Index of Learning Styles. I'm really happy with his articles and contribuitions for the education field. Hugs from Brazil.

  4. OMG, as I look back, I can identify these tactics from my teachers and professors. Those days that I was just not into it, they kept me on my feet and I was not happy, lol.

  5. ครายแปลได้ช่วยบอกที่ ต้องทำส่งจาร

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