ACTIVITY SELECTION FOR ACTIVE LEARNING

COMPLEXITY OF ACTIVE LEARNING TASKS

The following categories — adapted from the article, “The Active Learning Continuum: Choosing Activities to Engage Students in the Classroom” by Charles Bonwell and Tracey Sutherland — place activities on a continuum from low to high complexity. The placement blow into specific categories is a suggestion; the actual complexity may vary based on the details of your activity.

LOW COMPLEXITY

  • Relatively little class time to facilitate (less than 15 minutes in most cases)
  • Little-to-moderate time for the instructor to prepare — some tasks could be used spontaneously in class
  • Little-to-moderate time for the instructor to process results

MODERATE COMPLEXITY

  • Significant class time to facilitate (between 15 and 45 minutes in most cases)
  • Moderate time for the instructor to prepare
  • Moderate time for the instructor to process results

HIGH COMPLEXITY

  • Completion of tasks may require more than one class session and/or time outside of class
  • Instructor preparation and activity design time may be high
  • Significant time for the instructor to grade and respond to results
LOW COMPLEXITY MEDIUM COMPLEXITY HIGH COMPLEXITY
Buzz Groups Defining Features Matrix Analytic Memos
Round Robin Pro and Con Grid Content, Form, and Function Outlines
Talking Chips Background Knowledge Probe Collaborative Writing
Think-Pair-Share Empty Outlines Dialogue Journals
Three-Step Interview Memory Matrix Paper Seminars
Categorized Grid Analytic Teams Peer Editing
Focused Listing Case Studies
Minute Paper | Muddiest Point Group Investigations
Send-A-Problem
Structured Problem-Solving
Think-Aloud Pair Problem-Solving
Student-Defined Questions