Cued active learning: An initial study


It has become common knowledge that effective teaching requires more than just the rote dissemination of knowledge. By using active learning, teachers involve the students in the learning process. As the students subjectively handle the class material, their comprehension and retention improves. In the classroom, teachers commonly prompt actively learning through a verbal cue such as, "We are now going to break into groups." This forces the student to switch from a receptive mental state to an active mental state. We theorize that this verbal, short duration transition from lecture to active learning, especially in large classroom settings, is not sufficient to make this transition quickly and thus limits how active students are in the active learning session. In this paper we present a technique and exploratory study results for cueing active learning through a representative icon in a visual lecture presentation. This cue enables the students to mentally prepare themselves for actively learning during a more passive part of the lecture. The results of our exploratory study demonstrate that the cued active learning did not conclusively correlate with average student performance, but that it did show a decrease in the standard deviation of performance, thereby demonstrating an improvement in the comprehension of the students that were more likely to perform lower than average. The results of this study will be used to conduct a more formal study including direct measurement of lecture participation by students.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Publication Date


Journal Title

Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference