Accelerating the Paradigm Shift from Lecture-Centered to Technology-Enabled Active Learning

A public presentation sponsored by Nanyang Technological University
1 June 2012
James L. Morrison, Session Presenter

Employers around the world are expressing increasing dissatisfaction with the degree to which college graduates are able to access, evaluate, and communicate information; to use information technology (IT) tools effectively; to think critically; to problem solve; and to work well within teams across cultural lines. A change of instructional paradigms--from passive to active (authentic) learning strategies, such as project-based learning, problem-based learning, or inquiry-based learning--is clearly needed. These strategies prepare students to step into the world of work fully prepared to do that work because throughout their course of study they acively practiced developing the competencies that they will need to be successful in that work.

However, changing instructional paradigms is difficult. Faculty members are busy, many are not comfortable with using information technology (IT) tools, and most cling to the traditional model of the professor as subject matter expert/authority whose primary instructional method is lecture. Consequently, although most professors now use one or more IT tools in their teaching, these tools too often serve only to support a traditional lecture method (e.g., PowerPoint, automatic class rolls, email, discussion forums).


The purpose of this session is to engage participants in discussing what is meant by technology-enabled active learning methods, how these methods relate to student success, what the barriers are to implementing these methods across academic departments, and what approaches can be used to assist faculty members to incorporate these methods in their instruction.


Please review the following publications prior to the session:

  1. Mack, T. "An Interview with a Futurist." Futures Research Quarterly, 2003, 19 (1), 61-69
  2. Moore, A. H., Fowler, S. B., and Watson, C. E. (2007)." Active Learning and Technology: Designing Change for Faculty, Students, and Institutions." EDUCAUSE Review, 42 (5), 42-61.
  3. Woo, Y., Herrington,J., Agostinho, S., and Reeves, T. C.(2007). Implementing Authentic Tasks in Web-Based Learning Environments. EDUCAUSE Review, 30 (3)
  4. Page, C. (2007)."Why Today's Students Value Authentic Learning." [Download PDF file from "View this resource:"].
  5. Morrison, J. L. and Long, P. "The iCampus technology-enabled active learning project at MIT: An Interview with Phillip Long. Innovate 5 (5). Available online at (You must go to Vol 5, No 5 to access the article.)
  6. Morrison, J. L. and Long, P. "Technology Enhanced Learning at MIT. Higher Education Teaching and Learning Portal. Available online at
  7. Brown, M., Auslander, M., Gredone, K., Green, D., Hull, B., and Jacobs, W. (2010). " A Dialogue for Engagement." EDUCAUSE Review, 45 (5), 38-56.
  8. Lombardi, M. M. (2007). "Approaches That Work: How Authentic Learning is Transforming Higher Education." [Download PDF file from "View this resource:"
  9. Lombardi, M. M. (2008). "Making the Grade: The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning." [Download PDF file from "View this resource:"]
  10. Morrison, J. L. (1996). "Teaching in the Twenty-First Century." On the Horizon, 4(5).
  11. Morrison, J. L. (2011). "Using a Futures Approach in Organizational and Instructional Development." Workshop implemented at the International Islamic University, Malaysia.


After briefly defining/illustrating technology-enabled active learning methods and how these methods relate to preparing students for the comtemporary workplace, participants will form small groups to address these questions: (1) What are the barriers to implementing these methods? and (2) what approaches can be used to assist faculty members incorporate these methods in their instruction?

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