Academic Learning Transformation Lab

Connected Learning for a Networked World

ALT Lab models and inspires connected learning for a networked world through faculty development, student engagement, communities of practice, and technology enhanced active learning. We cultivate distinctive experiences of deeper learning fostered by high engagement for student success. See also...

Technology Enhanced Active Learning

The focus of Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) is on active learning, not on technology.

Active learning requires students to develop their understanding of content through the active construction of a product, the solving of a problem, or both. It evokes pedagogical scholars such as Dewey, Lindeman, Papert, and Lave and Wenger, and embodies a long human tradition of learning through doing. And there is evidence to suggest that active learning is a highly effective approach to teaching at the university level.

Instructional strategies for active learning can take many forms, including writing, role-playing, gaming, constructing, experimenting, simulating, observing, and discussing. Active learning occurs when students participate in their own learning, no matter what specific activity is involved. Active learning is thinking made visible, with evidence of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. It goes beyond passive listening, memorization, and recitation.

The unique characteristics of digital technologies can enhanceintensify, increase, amplify – active learning. Open source software, web apps, common digital cameras, and almost ubiquitous mobile technologies empower and engage students as they construct, build, create, and distribute products that represent and reinforce their learning. These technologies provide opportunities for simulation, experimentation, research, and self-expression. In turn, social media exponentially improve access: access to information, to opportunities for collaboration, to alternative perspectives, and to audiences for student-generated products.

But as amazing as we think digital technologies can be, we should be clear: these technologies are amplifiers, not endpoints. If opportunities for active learning are not present in the classroom, digital technologies may automate processes, but are unlikely to improve learning.

ALT Lab embraces TEAL because it emphasizes the experiential elements of learning and the benefits of digital engagement. When combined with the social learning emphasis of communities of practice, TEAL helps to empower connected learning. For more information on ALT Lab programming related to TEAL, please click here

Contact us

Academic Learning Transformation Lab - ALT Lab
1000 Floyd Ave, Suite 4102 | Richmond, Virginia 23284
altlab@vcu.edu | 804-827-5181

Last updated: April 27, 2016

Virginia Commonwealth University

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