Engaging face-to-face facilitation

In our busy lives, none of us like to feel that our physical attendance at an event is wasted or could have been better spent doing something else. It is important that when we ask students to physically attend a class on campus, that we ensure that they feel it is worth their while, and they come away from that class feeling better informed and confident of the next steps.

The face-to-face learning environment brings with it a number opportunities to genuinely engage with your students as part of the learning process. To maximise the f2f learners experience, teachers need to foster the development of students to become active learners through the use of questioning,

enquiring, responding while critically analysing a variety of questions and situations. Development of these skills promotes independent thinking skills within the learner. Consider Dale’s ‘Cone of Experience’ and reflect on the current classroom teaching techniques you use to achieve learning outcomes.

Active learning

Active learning is what it implies – students actively taking part in their learning, rather than being a passive recipient. Active learning is student centred learning defined by students doing, practicing, sharing, discussing and putting students in the driver’s seat when it comes to responsibility for learning. An active learning session can be used to enhance learning by incorporating multiple learning styles and improving comprehension of course content.

The following is a short list of ideas for facilitating interactive engagement in the face-to-face class setting – big or small, lecture or tutorial space. For more resources, check out the 'Resources, strategies or assistance' section below.

  • Think-pair-share. Ask a questions, pair students with another to discuss, then share responses with the whole class. This encourages students to share and discuss ideas around particular topics, issue or problems
  • The Minute paper. Often used at the end of a class, ask students to write the 2 – 5 most significant things they learnt in the session and remaining questions they may have. Submit to the teacher, which the teacher provides feedback at the next class. This activity assist students and teachers to reflect on student understanding of key concepts or topics.
  • The Jigsaw Technique. Break students into groups and give them different concepts to explore. When each group reports back to the whole class, they teach each other the concepts, and collectively they have covered all topic areas, rather than getting all students to cover all areas. This encourages students to understand one area at a deeper level, and peer teach through discussion and problem solving.
  • Mind mapping. Mind mapping is a visual exercise to help students organise and structure complex content. It focuses on developing a hierarchy of information to work out key components, their subsets and relationships to each other. Focus on one central word or idea and use branches to depict the importance of ideas. Mind maps can be used for individual or group activities or a mixture of both to help with brainstorming, problem solving and memory.
  • Polling. Either electronically or by a show of hands, ask students to vote on what they perceive to be the best answer to a question, or the best result of a scenario. Then allow some time for them to discuss their thoughts with their peers, and to argue the case for their answer. This can be done in groups or as a whole class. Ask them to vote again to see if their opinions have changed.
  • Game shows. By emulating the most current game or quiz show on TV, use a similar approach to consolidate learning of content delivered prior to class. Students can actively be involved in writing the questions, hosting the class. This is a great way to provide revision or pulling learning together.

Resources, strategies or assistance