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  1. Active learning increases student learning, engagement, and interest in STEM and subsequently, the number and diversity of graduates. Yet, its adoption has been slow, partially due to instructors’ concerns about student resistance. Consequently, researchers proposed explanation and facilitation instructional strategies designed to reduce this resistance. Using surveys from 2-year and 4-year institutions including minority-serving institutions, we investigate the relationship between students’ affective and behavioral responses to active learning, instructors’ use of strategies, and active learning type. Analyses revealed low levels of student resistance and significant relationships between both explanation and facilitation strategy use and positive student responses.
  2. In this study, we examined the relation between students’ affective and behavioral response to active learning, the influence of students’ belongingness and their self-efficacy on these responses, and the moderating influence of students’ gender-identity. We found that, despite mean differences in value, positivity, and distraction, there were not gender differences in the pattern of relations between variables. For both groups, belongingness and self-efficacy independently predicted students’ affective response and their evaluation of the class. Belongingness also predicted students’ participation in class. These findings suggest that student-level factors play an important role in how students respond to active learning and that fostering an atmosphere that supports both self-efficacy and belongingness may be beneficial for all students.
  3. The construct of active learning permeates undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but despite its prevalence, the construct means different things to different people, groups, and STEM domains. To better understand active learning, we constructed this review through an innovative interdisciplinary collaboration involving research teams from psychology and discipline-based education research (DBER). Our collaboration examined active learning from two different perspectives (i.e., psychology and DBER) and surveyed the current landscape of undergraduate STEM instructional practices related to the modes of active learning and traditional lecture. On that basis, we concluded that active learning—which is commonly used to communicate an alternative to lecture and does serve a purpose in higher education classroom practice—is an umbrella term that is not particularly useful in advancing research on learning. To clarify, we synthesized a working definition of active learning that operates within an elaborative framework, which we call the construction-of-understanding ecosystem. A cornerstone of this framework is that undergraduate learners should be active agents during instruction and that the social construction of meaning plays an important role for many learners, above and beyond their individual cognitive construction of knowledge. Our proposed framework offers a coherent and actionable concept of active learningmore »with the aim of advancing future research and practice in undergraduate STEM education.« less
  4. Abstract: Our research has identified strategies instructors can use to reduce student resistance to active learning, and we are developing a workshop intervention to change instructors’ motivation and behaviour related to adoption of active learning and of these strategies. We are using a randomized control trial to assess the impact of the workshop on instructors’ value, self-efficacy, and actual adoption of both active learning and the strategies to reduce resistance. In this paper, we describe our processes for recruiting workshop participants and for developing an instructor survey to assess the impact of the workshop.