Perceived Faculty Barriers to Using Active Learning Methods i ...

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Abstract

Research evidence continues to reveal that using active learning methods in the classroom has a positive impact on student learning. Additionally, awareness by faculty and administrators of the importance and value of using active learning methods continues to grow in higher education. However, some faculty find the consistent implementation of active learning methods challenging. Many continue to teach the way they were taught, and the majority of terminal degree programs do not include training on learning theory and effective teaching. The study explored the internal and external barriers preventing faculty use of active learning methods in higher education across the United States and the relationship between the barriers and faculty demographics. A sample of one thousand full-time and part-time faculty teaching in private and public higher education institutions completed a twenty-four-item survey on perceived barriers to using active learning in the classroom. Results suggest that male and full professors identified more barriers than their counterparts and listed workload and competing demands high on their lists of barriers to utilizing active learning. The results also showed that training, mentoring, and professional development are vital components for supporting faculty in the utilization of active learning pedagogies and are instrumental in supporting faculty in their efforts to become better teachers of their discipline. Limitations of the study include the use of classroom observation or in-depth interview methodologies to contribute more in-depth data.