Modifying the student's resistance towards active learning with more active-learning

Matias Recabarren, Claudio Alvarez, María Ignacia Díaz

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The application of methodological innovations in the teaching of engineering has been promoted and justified for several years now, especially those based on active learning and problem-based learning. However, the adoption of these new methodologies by universities has been slower than expected. Although many of the indicated causes refer to resistance by professors (e.g. a lack of time for implementation), there are also those that are based on resistance by students. In particular, an attitude of distrust is mentioned with regard to these innovations, which normally require greater student participation. However, if the student has been part of passive learning during the majority of his life, how valid is his opinion about a methodology that he does not know? In order to analyze this, we performed a two-stage study on the perception about learning methodologies on university students in Universidad de los Andes, Chile. The first stage consisted in changing a course to the active learning methodology and surveying the course's students (N=56) at the beginning as well as the end of the course, asking them to describe their ideal class. The results showed that the attribute "participative", which is key in an active learning methodology, went from a selection of 41% before the course to 68% after the course was finished. The second stage corresponded to a general perception study of the engineering students at the same university, which was performed two years after starting to take 3 of the major's courses with methodological innovations based on active learning. The study included 581 students (62% of the total students at the School), who were asked to describe their ideal class. We compared the results of the opinions of freshmen (N=198) with upperclassmen that had taken courses with active learning (N=210) and those who had not (N=173). This study showed different cases where the description of the ideal class was the consequence of the previous courses that the student had taken, such as the example previously shown about how the attribute "participative" was chosen significantly more by upperclassmen than by freshmen, which coincides with the passive methodologies proper to the country's schools where they had studied. In this way, in this paper we show through diverse situations the influence that experienced methodologies can have on a student, and how through these same methodologies we can change these opinions and make them favorable towards methodologies based on active learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26.1166.1-26.116614
Number of pages14
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Volume122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for Society
Issue number122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for...
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Seattle, United States
Duration: 14 Jun 201517 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Society for Engineering Education, 2015.


Dive into the research topics of 'Modifying the student's resistance towards active learning with more active-learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this