Students’ Perceptions of and Engagement with Asynchronous Active Learning Activities for Developing their Understanding

  • Caroline Anderson The University of Nottingham
  • Beverley Allan The University of Nottingham
Keywords: active learning


Active learning (AL) engages students in the process of learning and emphasises higher order thinking. During the pandemic, AL activities known as ‘application challenges’ were interspersed among the content-based activities that were released on a weekly basis, but which Science foundation year students completed asynchronyously. Students’ anonymous responses to the application challenges were discussed during live online seminars and formative feedback was provided. End of year module evaluations in both Biology (n = 14) and Chemistry (n = 21) indicated that most respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that completing application challenges (93% and 86% respectively) and receiving feedback on student answers (86% and 76% respectively) helped them to develop their understanding. However, analysis of student engagement in the Chemistry module suggests AL activities, including application challenges, were accessed significantly less than content-based activities. Moreover, on average only 21% students submitted anonymous responses to application challenges even though an average of 56% accessed them. Since application challenges appear to provide a valuable means of developing students’ understanding through the promotion of deep approaches to learning, the asynchronous lecture engagement activities will be restructured in an attempt to improve student engagement with the application challenges. 


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