Selected Tools and Methods to Engage Students in Learning
In an article that has received widespread attention since its publication, Barr and Tagg (1995) suggested that there is a paradigm shift taking place in undergraduate education-from an emphasis on teaching to an emphasis on learning. They explained:
In the learning paradigm ... a college’s purpose is not to transfer knowledge but to create environments and experiences that bring students to discover and construct knowledge for themselves, to make students members of communities of learners that make discoveries and solve problems. (p. 15)
Consistent with such a perspective, we have focused this chapter on selected instructional methods that can actively engage students in course content. In addition to the initial discussion of syllabi, we have included five basic instructional strategies that require active student participation: writing, oral presentations, small groups, case study methods, and field study methods.