This paper offers a reflective discussion of recent developments in active learning pedagogical approaches, with a focus on class-flipping and peer instruction. We present two case studies based on the experience of the authors in promoting active learning in two large-class undergraduate modules in Introductory Macroeconomics and Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry at the University of East Anglia. Both case-studies are based on a flipping model with in-class active learning delivered through peer instruction. However, the experience of each author differs in the way the teaching approach was introduced and integrated with additional pedagogies to meet specific needs of the student population, as well as the desired learning outcomes for both modules. In the Introductory Macroeconomics case-study, we discuss how combining peer instruction with a self-assessment component can support the development of students’ metacognitive skills. In the Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry case-study, we demonstrate that peer instruction questions can be co-designed in partnership with students to foster engagement and challenge misconceptions. We argue that peer instruction can be used as an effective, scalable, and easily adaptable active learning pedagogy in many different learning environments. Reflecting on our experience, as well as the student voice, our concluding discussion considers: (i) the importance of careful question design, (ii) the role of audience response technologies, as well as (iii) present and future challenges to the promotion of active learning approaches in Higher Education.
- active learning
- peer instruction