Active Learning Approaches to Teaching and Learning Science in a Higher Education


Traditional classroom lectures have significant limitations in the higher education context as activities are presented in a passive manner which generally do not get the students to actively involve with the learning experience (White et al., 2016). Research demonstrates that there is growing evidence of the benefits of introducing active learning in college science courses (Cavanagh et al., 2016). However, adopting active learning approaches is not straight forward especially in a climate influenced by traditional teaching approaches (Hamdan, 2015). In addition, learners are resistant to active learning and lecturers are anxious about how their students will respond to active teaching and learning activities (Finelli, Daly & Richardson, 2014; Prince, Borrego, Hendersen, Cutler & Fr oyd, 2014). This paper adopts a mixed methods research design and reports on the findings of a study investigating students' and lecturers’ perceptions of their teaching and learning experiences in an undergraduate science course featuring active learning across a faculty of 20 academic staff and more than 700 students in a higher educational institution in Saudi Arabia. The findings show that students found the courses that adopted active learning approaches encouraged creativity and innovation than courses which used traditional lectures. The active learning strategies reflect that the faculty were familiar with active learning methods and that they supported an active learning culture. The results are expected to help faculty to better understand students’ perception and experience of active learning.


Active, Learning, Traditional, Lectures, Transformed, Teaching


Learning in Higher Education


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Saad Alshehri
    • Head , Curriculum and Instruction, University of Jeddah , Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia