Active and Collaborative Learning Strategies

These resources range from handbooks on facilitating group work, to writing-to-learn activities, to video capsules on addressing active learning challenges and student resistance.


  1. Active/cooperative learning web sites - links, papers and other resources on active/cooperative learning.

  2. Active learning: 101 strategies to teach any subject - This book offers an introduction to active learning by sharing many strategy how-to's, from fishbowls to learning contracts to poster sessions to guided note-taking. It effectively compiles advice in "top 10" lists that respond to many of the questions instructors may have as they begin incorporating these strategies in their courses. McGill Library.

  3. Active Learning in Higher Education [e-journal] - available through the McGill Library.

  4. Active Learning vs. the lecture - This podcast revisits the question of whether active learning or lecturing is more appropriate, and offers glimpses into several university classrooms to articulate the potential that both approaches can hold. The podcast is accompanied by related web resources.

  5. Collaborative learning techniques - This handbook provides detailed recommendations and rationales related to facilitating group work at the university level. Barkley, E.F., Cross, K.P., and Major, C.H. (2005). Collaborative Learning Techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons.

  6. Cooperative Learning in Technical Courses - R. Felder and R. Brent.

  7. Creating involvement in the classroom - LaSere Erickson, B., Peters, C. B.,  & Weltner Strommer, D. (2006). Addresses the varied instructional purposes of approaches such as small-group discussions (from review to warm-up to promoting understanding and applying ideas in new contexts, for example), writing-to-learn activities, case studies and role playing, and how they can occur even in large first-year classes.In Teaching First-Year College Students (pp. 103-118). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  8. Scenes from a classroom: Making active learning work - This website provides a number of video capsules that illustrate issues that may occur when implementing active learning, including student complaints, the time-consuming nature of the activities, group work issues and more. It addresses each concern, with suggestions for how to approach these issues in the classroom and ensure that students understand why active learning is being used. University of Minnesota, 2008.

  9. Student engagement techniques - A detailed compendium of different strategies for engaging students in a variety of university-level courses. Barkley, E. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. Hoboken, New Jersey: Jossey-Bass.

  10. Student-Centered Instruction - "Navigating the Bumpy Road to Student-Centered Instruction"; Richard M. Felder and Rebecca Brent.

  11. Team Learning - “Turning student groups into effective teams”; Oakley, B., Felder, R., Brent, R., Elhajj, I. (2004). New Forums Press.

McGill University is on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous people whose footsteps have marked this territory on which peoples of the world now gather.

L'Université McGill est sur un emplacement qui a longtemps servi de lieu de rencontre et d'échange entre les peuples autochtones, y compris les nations Haudenosaunee et Anishinabeg. Nous reconnaissons et remercions les divers peuples autochtones dont les pas ont marqué ce territoire sur lequel les peuples du monde entier se réunissent maintenant.