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Welcome to the Dawson Active Learning Website


Led by faculty, informed by research, and supported by the administration, Dawson is a leader in the development of active learning pedagogical expertise, classrooms and resources.

What is Active Learning?

Active Learning is a broad term for describing instructional strategies that actively and meaningfully engage students in the learning process. Active learning shifts the focus of teaching and learning away from a transmission of knowledge model and toward a student-centered knowledge construction model.

Why Adopt Active Learning?

A growing body of research shows that active learning works. In a comprehensive meta-analysis of 225 studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, active learning was shown to increase exam scores and conceptual gains while lowering failure rates when compared to traditional, lecture oriented pedagogies (see: Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics, by Freeman et al.,(2014) and available at www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1319030111), and the benefits extend into all fields of teaching and learning (see: How Learning Works, by Susan Ambrose et al., 2010, and; Engaging Ideas: The professor’s guide to integrating writing, critical thinking and active learning in the classroom, by John C. Bean). An extensive list of articles and books on active learning is available at: https://www.saltise.ca/resources/articles-and-books/.

Active Learning Support at Dawson – The DALC

In order to develop active learning pedagogical capacity and resources, Dawson College has supported the growth and development of a Community of Practice – the Dawson Active Learning Community (DALC). Through the DALC, faculty develop their active learning expertise and know-how by attending regular peer-lead workshops, sharing best practices, applying for Fellowship opportunities, observing active learning expert peers, and working with mentors.

Last Modified: July 19, 2021