What makes for effective active learning? It’s not an overstatement to say this is what I spent all of undergrad and my first job thinking about. So what happens when I’m given five minutes to free-write on it? This:
Effective active learning is characterized by intentional group discussion, planning, shared goal development, and collective working towards those goals. It’s best when there is equity in who has space to (and does) participate. That may come in the form of split roles and subsequent role fulfillment, speaking up in key moments of the class as is relevant, etc. I think what helps facilitate this is holistic understanding of students and their diverse perspectives and kinds of expertise. For example, the nodes in interdisciplinary classes, in which students can speak to their academic identity as (relative) experts in an area / on a topic. Effective active learning is also and perhaps most importantly characterized by integration of understanding / concepts / ideas.
If I were to put a picture to effective active learning, it would be this piece of a classroom map I made as an undergrad: