Blog: Update on Diagramming – Active Learning

Back in my post about diagramming as a study strategy, I made reference to recent studies showing the effectiveness of long-hand writing and its correlation with retention and recall.  One of the  things I love about working at a post-secondary institute is I a.) mix it up with very smart people who teach for a living; and b.) have access to a well-funded library.

I love university and college libraries!  I don’t always make adequate use of their vast resources, but when I need them, they have my back.  For instance, my institute recently negotiated access for its employees to use  As a nerd who loves to learn, this made me very happy.

Part of my job involves program review and quality assurance, which is outside of my educational wheel house.  Recently, I’ve been exposed to the concept of Active Learning Strategies as a method of engaging students in the classroom.  For instance, a passive learning strategy would be for students to read a textbook and learn the definitions of key words and concepts.  An active learning strategy would have the students read the text, then take those same key words/concepts and draw them in a relationship tree to show how the various parts fit together.

If you have access, I suggest you check out “Active learning strategies: three activities to increase student involvement in learning” by Catherine Wilcoxson Ueckert and Julie Gess-Newsome in The Science Teacher journal (75.9, Dec. 2008; p47.).  There, the authors discuss, as the title says, three alternative approaches to student engagement in the science classroom.  While these approaches assume a classroom, instead of a solo learning project like what I’m encountering, I think you can still extrapolate on the learnings and apply it outside of the traditional classroom.

Stay Awesome!


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