15 active study activities to energize your next college class (2023)

The evidence continues to mount: Higher education students engage more, learn more, and achieve more with active learning. At another test point, ameta-analysisofAnnals of the National Academy of Sciencesfound that students' test scores improved by 6% when active learning approaches were used. And students in traditional classes were 1.5 times more likely to fail than those who used interactive methods.

During uncertain times like these, it can seem easier to stick with the familiar. But even if your classes have moved partially or completely online, that doesn't mean you're limited to lectures. Even taking 5-10 minutes to move from knowledge ingestion to engagement can make a difference.

Ready to switch to a different way of teaching but need some ideas to get started? Or maybe you've been teaching your courses this way for years, but you want ideas that will work for the new reality. Whether your classes are face-to-face, online, or in between, here are 15 active learning activities to try with your students this semester.

1. Tweezers-pairs-repairs

in this turnthink to share, pose an open-ended question to your class and ask students to find their best answer. Then bring the students together and ask them to agree on an answer. Put two pairs together and the foursome must do the same. Continue until half of the group is face to face with the other half. If your students are online, the breakout rooms in your conferencing software allow you to do the same virtually.See how it works on Zoom.

2. Improvisation games

If your classroom is museum-quiet, no matter how hard you try to liven things up, try some low-risk (read: non-embarrassing) improv activities. In itthree things in common play, couples discover the most unexpected things they share (this can also be done online in the themed rooms). Or challenge your students to count to 20 as a group with one person saying each number, but no one is given a number, and if two people speak at the same time, everyone starts over at 1. (If some students are in the room and some remotes, you will need full coverage classroom audio for this to work.See how Nureva audio can help.)

(Video) Group Energizer Game

3. Brainstorming

You've probably tried brainstorming before, but have you triedbrain writing? In this approach, students are given time to present their own ideas individually before sharing them out loud or posting them to an online whiteboard or other shared platform. Building a space for individual reflection leads to better ideas and less groupthink.

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4. Puzzles

Help students develop responsibility by teaching each other. Start by dividing them into “home groups” (4 or 5 people works well). Again, themed rooms on Zoom or Google Meet make it simple, even if everyone is remote. Assign each person in the group a different topic to explore – they will regroup to work with all the students in the other groups who are exploring the same idea. After mastering the concept, the students return to the initial group and everyone shares new knowledge.

5. Concept maps

collaborative concept mappingit's a great way for students to break away from their individual perspectives. Groups can do this to review past work or help brainstorm ideas for projects and assignments. In pre-COVID times, you may have covered your classroom walls with sticky notes and graph paper; there are now many online tools that make it easy to map connections between ideas.

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6. The One Minute Newspaper

How much could you explain in one minute? At the end of class, set a timer and ask students to record the most revealing revelation or the most important question. This activity allows students to reflect on their learning and develop writing skills; Plus, you'll have a window into their understandings and misunderstandings. Are herebut quicklycan use for students to write.

(Video) Warm Up Any Meeting With These 8 Icebreakers

7. Real-time reactions

When students are watching a video, mini-lecture, or another student's presentation, ask them to share their reactions in real time. This helps students spot trends and consider new points of view. You can set a hashtag to allowtweeting the liveor use the chat feature in your conferencing software.

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8. Chain of notes

Write several questions on pieces of paper and pass each one to a student. The first student adds an answer (use a timer to make things go fast), then turns the page to collect more answers. Several contributions help build a fuller understanding. A digital alternative involves the use of shared documents that multiple students are invited to edit. Your class can then review the responses and identify patterns and missing pieces.

9. Alignment of ideas

Choose a question that has a variety of answers and ask students where they are, literally. If you are not socially distancing, ask them to come to the front of the classroom and line up based on where they are on the response spectrum. In a co-ed or physically distanced classroom, have them stand on a virtual number line.

10. Mystery Date

Assess how well students can apply their understanding of a problem or theoretical position. After they've explored a topic, show them a quote about it that they haven't seen before. Your task is to discover the point of view of the person behind the quote and justify it to the class. Students can discuss this question in small groups before beginning a whole class discussion.

11. Quick brainstorming

Have students circulate around your space or topic rooms on Zoom or Google Meet, sharing information on a topic or your presentation for an upcoming project. As they present their learnings over and over again in various “Fast dates”, Students' presentation skills and perspectives will grow.

(Video) Ice breakers for college-level students

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12. Peer review

The peer review process is as old as academia, and it's never too early to start. Have students exchange drafts of their essays, proposals, or lab reports, and then ask each other questions and comments. Make sure you are clear about what the objectives are (using rubrics helps). For example, students can identify compelling arguments, unanswered questions, and flaws in logic.

13. Question

Have you ever played Jeopardy? So are you ready tointerrogation. It's like a standard class discussion, but only questions are allowed (students yell "Statement!" if someone makes a mistake). If you play this game at the beginning of the course, the questions can help shape your course. If you have students in the room and you are calling remotely, make sure the remote students have the same airtime and that your audio system is picking up the students' voices clearly.

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14. Sketches

Instead of taking traditional class notes, try to have your studentsdraw a picturerepresenting what was learned in class. Remember, it's not about the quality of the art, it's about how the drawing makes students visualize their understanding and look at their learning from a different perspective.

15. Empathy mapping

Take a page from the designer's manual and have students explore deeper by taking a perspective. It's deceptively simple: write down what a personsay, think, do and feel. The ability to slow down and immerse yourself in another point of view is valuable. In design thinking, empathy maps help designers create better products for users. But this process can be just as valuable for analyzing literary characters, historical figures, or political positions.

(Video) 10 Tips for Successful Active Learning

Checklist: 8 Audio Essentials for HyFlex and Blended Learning

Do your higher education audio systems support active learning? In a hybrid classroom, students need to be able to easily hear each other no matter where they are. Instructors should be able to change the layout of the room for different activities as often as they like. See what else is on our list of audio essentials - download your checklist today (no email address required).

15 active study activities to energize your next college class (6)

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated.

15 active study activities to energize your next college class (7)

Subjects:Higher educationactive learninghybrid learningLearning activities

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What are examples of active studying? ›

Examples of Active Strategies
  • Explain material in your own words, speak it aloud.
  • Formulate and write down questions as you read.
  • Answer practice questions and seek to do additional practice questions/problems.
  • Relate theories to real life examples, interests or stories.

What are the 5 learning activities? ›

  • Content Focus (and Interaction) Whether the learning outcomes for a session or module include declarative or functioning knowledge, almost all of them will be supported in some way by the presentation of information to students. ...
  • Interactivity (with Others) Focus. ...
  • Critical Thinking. ...
  • Production. ...
  • Problem Solving. ...
  • Reflection.

What are active learning activities? ›

Active learning methods ask students to engage in their learning by thinking, discussing, investigating, and creating. In class, students practice skills, solve problems, struggle with complex questions, make decisions, propose solutions, and explain ideas in their own words through writing and discussion.

How do I make my college classes more engaging? ›

8 Ways to Keep Students Engaged During Lectures
  1. Make presentation interactive.
  2. Encourage smartphone use.
  3. Focus on “Why”
  4. Add in some humor.
  5. Take student interest into account.
  6. Work on your public speaking skills.
  7. Evaluate.
  8. Gather feedback.
Jan 27, 2022

What are the 7 study skills? ›

What are the seven study skills? Active listening, reading comprehension, note taking, stress management, time management, testing taking, and memorization are only a few of the topics addressed in our study skills guides for students.

How do I make my study group active? ›

Have group members demonstrate a skill or concept using a whiteboard (or piece of paper). Work together to draw a concept map, or write key points of topic; after you're done, explain each key concept. Ask a member to explain a concept, allowing others to ask questions as you go. Use active study strategies.

What types of activities will motivate students? ›

7 Motivational Activities for Students
  • #1 Brain Breaks. ...
  • #2 Games (as an Academic and Motivational Activity) ...
  • #3 Chunking. ...
  • #4 Use Personal Project Time as a Motivational Activity. ...
  • #5 Understanding Checks. ...
  • #6 Experiential/ Learning. ...
  • #7 Project-Based Learning.
Aug 31, 2020

What are the 4 learning activities? ›

What are the four learning styles? The four core learning styles in the VARK model include visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic.

What class activity helps you learn the most? ›

10 Classroom Activities for Better Learning Experiences
  • Ice Breakers. Ice Breakers is an introduction game that helps students become familiar with each other. ...
  • Debate. ...
  • Quiz. ...
  • Role play. ...
  • Student presentations. ...
  • The Fish Bowl. ...
  • Students as Teachers. ...
  • Case study.
Nov 11, 2014

What are interactive activities? ›

Interactive classroom activities are activities that forgo one-way communication, or individual learning in favor of getting students involved and engaged with the lessons or material.

What are examples of practical activities? ›

1 What kind of practical work?
  • demonstration.
  • structured practical.
  • 'rotating' practical or 'circus' practical.
  • investigation.
  • problem solving.

What are examples of student engagement? ›

For example, in one school observable behaviors such as attending class, listening attentively, participating in discussions, turning in work on time, and following rules and directions may be perceived as forms of “engagement,” while in another school the concept of “engagement” may be largely understood in terms of ...

What are the 6 study strategies? ›

Specifically, six key learning strategies from cognitive research can be applied to education: spaced practice, interleaving, elaborative interrogation, concrete examples, dual coding, and retrieval practice.

What makes a successful study group? ›

An effective study group ideally has 3-4 members (no more than 5 max). Your group should meet at least once a week and you should decide how long you want your sessions to be. All members should make a serious commitment to show up and to do the required preparation prior to any group meeting.

How can they make their study session more effective? ›

15 Tips & Tricks Make Sure You To Have The PERFECT Study Session
  1. Eliminate Distractions. Source: Pixabay user FirmBee. ...
  2. Choose an environment that will help you to focus on your studies. ...
  3. Clear your mind. ...
  4. What you're munching on matters. ...
  5. Stay hydrated. ...
  6. Take breaks. ...
  7. Choose your music wisely. ...
  8. Create a system for taking notes.
Dec 22, 2022

What is the 3 step active recall study method? ›

You just need to follow these steps: Step 1: Familiarise yourself with the material you wish to learn. Step 2: This is essential and the key to the entire process. Put everything away and force yourself to remember what you've just read. Step 3: Check how accurately you recalled the information.

What are the 10 ways to motivate a student? ›

10 Ways to Motivate Students Outside the Classroom
  • Accentuate the positive. ...
  • Set expectations and consequences. ...
  • Introduce competition. ...
  • Introduce collaboration. ...
  • Connect to their world. ...
  • Plug into technology. ...
  • Get parents involved. ...
  • Get students involved.

What activities motivate people? ›

8 fun activities at work to increase motivation
  • Icebreaker games. ...
  • Welcome new employees with gifts. ...
  • Volunteer together. ...
  • Team-building and development sessions. ...
  • Start an employee of the month programme. ...
  • Surprise the team with food. ...
  • Let the team work remotely. ...
  • Make meetings more fun.
Sep 19, 2022

How do you make a class energetic? ›

It's focused energy. It's energy that's driving learning forward.
  1. Greet students.
  2. Call them by name.
  3. Smile.
  4. Make eye contact.
  5. Learn something new about each student. Communicate. ...
  6. Clarify expectations.
  7. Start with why. Explain context and relevance.
  8. Tell stories to illustrate concepts. Stories capture attention.
Feb 18, 2018

What are constructive activities for students? ›

Constructive activities, such as self-explaining, drawing a concept map, comparing and contrasting cases, inducing hypotheses, allow the learners to infer new ideas, new insights, new conclusions, from making deductions and inductions, from reasoning analogically through comparisons, from integrating new knowledge with ...

What are the three types of educational activities or learning? ›

The Three (3) Domains of Learning – Cognitive; Affective; And Psychomotor (Caps) – It's Application in Teaching and Learning.

What are the 3 things involved in learning? ›

The three basic types of learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. To learn, we depend on our senses to process the information around us. Most people tend to use one of their senses more than the others.

What are study activities? ›

Study activities means lectures, tutorials, practical work, field work, residential seminars or courses, compulsory work placements, consultation with thesis supervisors, and research or preparation for assignments or examinations.

What are three things that can improve the class most *? ›

Discover 7 ways to improve your lessons.
  • Use ICT tools and digital game-based learning.
  • Differentiate between students.
  • Use the flipped classroom model.
  • Encourage cooperative learning.
  • Communicate with colleagues.
  • Communicate with parents.
  • Create a welcoming environment.
  • Conclusion.
Sep 7, 2021

What are some examples of activities that integrate the four skills? ›

What are some examples of activities that integrate the four skills? Two activities that make use of all four skills in tandem are Self-introduction and Reading and Retell.

What are the examples of interactive learning? ›

Science experiments are an example of interactive instruction. Another example is computer applications that allow students the ability to practice math and vocabulary skills.

Which are the most common activities? ›

The most popular hobby/activity in the United States is cooking and baking, with 38 percent of respondents stating it's among their personal hobbies and activities. The displayed data shows results of the Statista Global Consumer Survey conducted in the United States in 2022.

What are the main types of activities? ›

There are 4 types of activity: aerobic, balance, flexibility and strength.
  • increase muscle mass.
  • strengthen muscles.
  • improve posture and balance.
Oct 28, 2015

What are some play based learning activities? ›

Unstructured play (also known as free time) involves games that are made up on the spot or allow children to use the equipment around them as they like. Examples include playing at the park, imaginative play with make-believe stories and dancing to music at home.

What are the 7 student engagement strategies? ›

Here are 7 student engagement strategies to enhance learning and boost meaningful involvement in the classroom:
  • 1 – Setting Ground Rules. ...
  • 2 – Journaling. ...
  • 3 – Let Students Lead. ...
  • 4 – Icebreakers. ...
  • 5 – Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum. ...
  • 6 – Get Outside. ...
  • 7 – Perform a Class Service Project.

What are the 6 examples of engagement? ›

As Donors: People who will contribute to your efforts. As Loyalists: People who are committed to seeing your effort succeed. As Happy Employees/Customers: People who are excited to be a part of your effort. As Volunteers: People who spend their free time supporting your effort.

What are the types of engagement activities? ›

28 Surefire Employee Engagement Activities To Motivate Your Workforce
  • "The Employee of the month" on a regular basis. ...
  • Employees feel better about taking feedback. ...
  • TGIF Meetings to engage employees. ...
  • Regular Potlucks create a positive vibe. ...
  • Encourage employees to pursue side projects. ...
  • Employee work from home policy.
Feb 27, 2023

What does active studying mean? ›

Studying actively means engaging with the material in a way that is meaningful and promotes retention. Reading over class notes or presentation slides, for example, is considered passive studying; it will not test your true understanding of the material and will only help you retain information minimally.

What are the two types of active learning? ›

Learning activity according to Mayer (2009) consists of two parts: active cognitively and active behaviorally. The combination of both will affect the emergence of meaningful learning.

What is the difference between active and passive studying? ›

Passive Learning is letting the information pass through your brain: only a fraction of information sticks. Active Learning is placing information piece-by-piece into brain: maximum sticking of information.

Which of these is not an example of active learning? ›

Option a. (Reading quickly) is the correct answer. Active learning is concerned with utilizing the combination of learning with experience that helps an individual develop better learning skills. Reading fast does not come under the radar of active learning because of the lack of practical experience.

Why is active studying important? ›

Active learning improves student outcomes

The benefits to using such activities are many, including improved critical thinking skills, increased retention and transfer of new information, increased motivation, improved interpersonal skills, and decreased course failure (Prince, 2004).

How can I stay active and focused while studying? ›

Here are some simple study tips to help you stay focused:
  1. Set study goals. First things first; start with the basics and set your study goals. ...
  2. Make a study timetable. Once you know what you want, the next step is to prepare a weekly study timetable. ...
  3. Learn to say no. ...
  4. Stay focused on your priorities.

What is the best studying method? ›

One of the most impactful learning strategies is “distributed practice”—spacing out your studying over several short periods of time over several days and weeks (Newport, 2007). The most effective practice is to work a short time on each class every day.

What are the four steps of active learning? ›

  • Step 1: Analyzing needs for implementing an active learning strategy. ...
  • Step 2: Identify topic and questions. ...
  • Step 3: Identify learning objectives & outcomes. ...
  • Step 4: Plan and design the activity. ...
  • Step 5: Identify sequence of learning events. ...
  • Step 6: Evaluate and assess.

What are the four active learning approaches? ›

Cattaneo (2017) classifies active learning activities as problem-based learning, discovery-based learning, inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, and case-based learning. She finds that each of these approaches is student-centered, but they vary quite widely in their implementation.

What are examples of active vs passive learning? ›

Active learners may improve research, public speaking and analysis skills. In passive learning, students develop such skills as writing, listening and defining or describing. They tend to perform well on tests.

Why active learning is better than passive? ›

Students who are active learners are more engaged and have more fun. Compared to passive learners they are more successful in finishing their studies. To learn actively, we need to make sure that teaching enables this. Students who are active learners are more engaged and have more fun.

What are 3 examples of learning? ›

Learning type 1: auditive learning (“by listening and speaking“), Learning type 2: visual learning (“through the eyes, by watching”), • Learning type 3: haptic learning (“by touching and feeling”), • Learning type 4: learning through the intellect.

What are active learning materials? ›

Active learning is an approach to instruction that involves actively engaging students with the course material through discussions, problem solving, case studies, role plays and other methods.

What are the goals of active learning? ›

Active learning engages students in learning, using activities such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving, which promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content. Active in-class learning also provides students with informal opportunities for feedback on how well they understood the material.


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