New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Active Learning Strategies to Enhance Student Motivation and Engagement in Online Courses

Florentina Halimi, Gulf University for Science and Technology (Kuwait)

Rina Halimi, University of Vienna, Austria (Austria)


Active learning is defined as a learner-centered approach in which students engage in activities, while the instructor acts as a facilitator in the learning process. Many research studies report that active learning strategies effectively promote student engagement regardless of the medium in which they are presented. However, these strategies can look different in online learning environments, particularly in synchronous courses when students ask questions via webcams, microphones, and chat or message boards. Active learning has become popular during online learning in the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also brought its own challenges. After examining existing research on the benefits of active learning, an attempt is made to connect it with different learning theories and present strategies that help students engage better in the online learning environment. Following the identification of active learning strategies, six most frequently used strategies were identified: concept mapping, fishbowl strategy, Socratic dialogue, internet scavenger hunt, think-pair-share, and chalk-talk, that may be utilized through student-led discussions, presentations, and projects. These strategies were used with a cohort of undergraduate education students enrolled in two education courses taught by two university faculty members during the fall semester of 2020. In both courses, the same active learning strategies have been practiced. A total of 86 participants anonymously responded with feedback in an evaluation- survey completed at the end of the semester. The most successful and least- successful strategies for enhancing student engagement during online learning were voted. Th results of the study indicate that active learning motivates the students to engage with the content and increase their knowledge, but it is not a cure for all online learning challenges. In general, by using active learning strategies during online learning, students have developed cooperative work, self-evaluation alternatives, and peer evaluation during online learning. In addition, it is recommended that when creating an online course syllabus, it is essential for the instructor to plan and encourage active learning to take place effectively.

Keywords: Active learning strategies, learner engagement, student-led discussions, online learning.


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