Active Teaching Lab Recap: Independent learners — 10 ways to develop (01.21.2021)

Wed January 20, 2021

Independent learners need (obviously?) independence, but the culture of much of traditional teaching is top-down — instructors set a curriculum and dole it out at a pace that tries to keep everyone in the class learning the same things at the same time. Our January 20, 2021 Lab dug into teaching practices that create a culture of self-motivated students who don’t need to depend on you to direct their learning. 

Three principles for developing independent learners

  1. Empower students: Encourage working ahead and exploring rabbit holes they find interesting. Reward risk and encourage low-stakes educational failure. 
  2. Show value: Bring in (live or video) disciplinary experts as well as recent students to share their stories and passion for the field; include the stories of students who shifted disciplines — the value they got from your course.
  3. Share strategies: Share the processes you went through as you found your unique path in the discipline. How did you tie concepts together? What processes do others use? Have prior students share strategies they used to navigate difficult parts of your course.

To learn more and discover new resources, visit the session’s activity sheet.


Find out more about Active Teaching Labs here.