The purpose of this paper is to determine students’ and instructors’ perceptions regarding the effectiveness of implementing active learning strategies in higher education courses conducted at a tertiary institution in Lebanon.
Pre-service education students completed a questionnaire, professors were interviewed, and class sessions were observed.
Main findings indicate that the majority of the learners as well as the instructors favoured active learning and are strong proponents of putting into effect this approach in all their courses. These findings indicate the positive perceptions towards active learning strategies and the possible impact that these perceptions have on students’ performance and learning.
Three major limitations have influenced the efficiency of this study. The number of participants is rather small. Only 37 education students were involved in this study. Furthermore, an additional limitation is that all the participants were females. Yet, it is worth noting that the majority of the students, who are majoring in education at that particular university, are females. Finally, it is worth mentioning that one of the researchers conducted the non-participant observations which might have influenced the data in one way or another.
Implications from the results of the study are far reaching. A major implication is for the programmes to reconsider the organization of the classrooms to have rooms that allows for cooperative and group work. Also, classroom organization should be student centred with the teacher’s place not necessarily at the front of the room but possibly at different places in the room or even sitting with the student for some of the assignments. A second implication is that the classroom is to be viewed as a learning situation where the teacher is a guide, a facilitator in the teaching/learning context which would be blended with the lecture method when needed. A further implication is that teacher professional development is a priority for the agenda of educational institutions to help promote teaching effectiveness of this clearly important active learning. After all, the students are doing the learning and the teachers need to guide them in this process.
The main value of this paper is to encourage university faculty members to change their teaching methods in order to engage and motivate learners.