Implementation and Evaluation of Active Learning Techniques: Adaptable Activities for a Variety of Engineering Courses


Active learning is a form of learning approach in which students are actively involved in the learning process through specially designed activities, often in groups, followed by reflection upon what they have done. The effectiveness of active learning techniques that are intended to improve students' learning outcomes is highly dependent on the extent to which students are participating in the activity and also on the feedback they receive throughout or at the end of activity. While many studies have shown the positive impact of such approaches on students' performance, many instructors still hesitate to implement active learning in the classroom. Typical concerns and obstacles include the difficulty of designing an effective activity, the required time for conducting the activity, the tools needed for facilitating the activity, and the willingness of students to engage in the activity. This paper is aimed at providing a library of active learning strategies that could be used in teaching various engineering courses, discussing strategies to ensure students are effectively engaged in the activity, and evaluating the impact of those approaches on students' performance. The implemented techniques include pop-up quizzes followed with a group discussion and small group challenge problems with timed release of hints throughout the activity; also algorithmically coded questions with randomly generated numbers were used in which students needed to collaborate in formulating the solution but the final answer would be unique for every member. An online learning platform was used that enables the instructors to measure the performance of students individually and as a part of a team. The studied teaching techniques have been implemented in various engineering classes at different levels (sophomore, junior) and different class sizes (40 to 110 students in each class). The efficacy of active learning on students' performance was evaluated by comparing the grades on summative assessments with and without applying the active strategies. In addition, surveys were conducted to understand the students' perception of active learning and to identify the learning strategies they considered the most effective. Evaluation of student responses indicates broad agreement on the effectiveness of high-impact learning activities.

Meeting Name

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference (2020: Jun. 22-26, Virtual)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

High school students; Intro to Engineering; Problem based learning; Summer camp

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2020 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

22 Jun 2020

This document is currently not available here.