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Instruction Toolkit: Active Learning


Exercises & Activities (under construction)

This section includes examples of activities that can be incorporated into an instruction section. Click on the tabs for ideas and share activities that have worked for you with the Instruction Coordinators.

Use a video, reading, news event, thought-provoking question, or other catalyst to invoke a conversation.


Video: Eli Pariser's TED Talk on Filter Bubbles

In this age of information overload, are filter bubbles important to help us cut through the noise? Is the responsiblity on the individual or search engine/social network to make sure we get information that we need?

Reading: "New Florida University Unveils Bookless Library"

Is this where we are headed? What do you know about libraries and research that supports or contradicts this trend?

News Event: "NFL Rookie to Retire of Health Concerns"

What are the research disciplines/subjects that can relate to this event? What keywords could be applied to these various areas? Which databases would you use to find information on reducing brain injuries in professional sports?

Question/Debate: Is there a place for Wikipedia in Scholarly Research?
  1. Ask students to take sides discuss their points.
  2. Take notes for the class to synthesize the arguments.
  3. See if connections can be made to research skills/concepts and library resources.

•    Draw a database on a whiteboard. Label the elements and functions it has. Open Compendex and see if you can match the features you drew to what you find in this database. What differences did you notice -- good and bad?

Tools & Technologies

This section includes tools and technologies you can use to enhance an activity. Suggest technologies the Instruction Coordinators should explore or include.

"Rapid response" survey tools can be beneficial in many ways:

  • Assess students' prior knowledge, allowing you to adapt what topics to emphasize in the session
  • Assess whether students met learning outcomes
  • Increase participation among unengaged and/or shy students
  • Gain concensus or generate ideas to guide the direction of a session
  • Prompt discussion


Poll Everywhere

  • create custom URLS
  • responses via text or browser
  • ask open-ended questions
  • create wordclouds (e.g. gather research topics and keyword ideas)


  • individual quizzes
  • "Space Race" - groups or individuals or teams compete answering quiz questions tracked by rocketships racing across the screen
  • "Exit Ticket" - survey to asses how it went
  • "Quick Question" - multiple choice, short answer, or T/F question


  • "back channel" feed (like Twitter)
  • collect responses or questions during class
  • keep the conversation going outside of class
  • use as office hours
  • can be anonymous
  • icebreaker to enable conversation
  • invite "guest speakers" to remotely follow and contribute to the conversation


What is active learning?

Active learning is a method of instruction delivery where students acquire skills and learn concepts through engaging in activities.

This page includes two sections:

Exercises & Activities of pedagogical methods of engaging students

Tools & Technologies that can be used in conjunction with the activities to enhance the activity