Teaching Strategies: Fink, Gagne and Smith

Dee Fink distinguished between passive and active learning. Passive learning involves students receiving information and ideas. In comparison, active learning engages students by providing rich learning experiences (doing, observing) and in-depth reflective dialog (with self and others). As instructor, we should make effort to design our class activities to provide such affordances that enable active learning.

Active learning
active learning

Figure 1. Passive and Active Learning

Adapted from Fink, D. A Self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. 2003

For more information about active learning, please refer to the following resources:

Engaging students in lectures

Nine Events of Instruction How do you plan for a class? How do you arrange all the activities in a class? One way to plan your class session is by following the Nine Events of Education advanced by educational psychologist Robert Gagne. Figure 2 is an illustration of the nine events of instruction:

nine events

Figure 2. Nine Events of Instruction by Robert Gagne

For an explanation of the Nine Events of Instruction, please visit the following resources:

Bookend procedure
Research has consistently shown that lecturing in the entire class period is not an effective way of teaching. Our working memory is limited; usually after hearing 10-15 minutes of lecture, our mind drifts away. To keep students engaged, one approach is to adopt what is called the bookend procedure.

Figure 3. Bookend Procedure (adapted from Carl Smith, 2000, Going deeper: Formal small-group learning in large classes, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 81) Questioning & discussion

Alternatives to lectures

In addition to lecturing, there are some alternative ways of teaching, for example, case studies, problem-based learning, collaboratively learning,

Case & Problem-based Learning

Collaborative Learning