Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Active learning strategies are being increasingly valued by instructors and implemented in higher education. However, mixed outcomes exist regarding learning, exam results, and student preferences for active learning compared to traditional lectures. A convenience sample of 26 first-year graduate students participated in a study that examined the impact of attending a traditional lecture versus an active learning session. Both sessions included a PowerPoint presentation and the active learning class also included embedded educational videos, instructor-led class discussions, a case study, and a think-pair-share activity. The instructor used a pre and post-test for each class and conducted a survey after each post-test. The study results showed statistical significance for both teaching methods, with the traditional lecture statistically higher by question. Most students’ perceptions of learning and preferred teaching methods favored active learning. Students felt activities helped them maintain their attention and allowed them to self-reflect on their understanding of content. The students also perceived that their learning was supplemented through peer and instructor questions and engagement. Furthermore, students felt the active lecture helped improve their self-efficacy, made them feel more included in the classroom, helped to meet their unique learning styles, and gave them the perception that they learned more. Conversely, some students felt the traditional lecture was more concise than the active lecture, focused on the “important” content, and was better organized and easier to follow. Because students’ learning, exam results, perceptions, and preferences vary, delivering a mixed method of instruction may benefit students while promoting self-efficacy and enjoyment of the instructor and classroom experience.


Jennifer Calabrese, OTD, MOT, OTR/L has worked in clinical care, program development, and administration. Additionally, she has functioned as an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Founding Doctoral Capstone Coordinator and currently works as an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Stockton University.

Declaration of Interest

The author reports no declaration of interest

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.