Active Learning Online

1st Edition

Five Principles that Make Online Courses Come Alive

Stephen M. Kosslyn
eISBN-13: 9781735810713

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Inspired by the surge of online courses during the COVID 19 pandemic, researcher and educational innovator Stephen M. Kosslyn offers a treasure trove of active learning principles and activities to bring online courses alive.

Whether your course is synchronous (e.g., live with Zoom) or asynchronous (e.g., using video content on Canvas), Active Learning Online will inject your new or existing course with all the benefits of active learning: your course will be more interesting and effective, student engagement will increase, learning outcomes will be reached, and general teaching and learning experiences will be enriched.

At the heart of this book are five key principles from the science of learning that will help to ensure that that taught materials stick in students minds: (1) deep processing, (2) chunking, (3) building associations, (4) dual coding, and (5) deliberate practice.

Based on these learning principles, Active Learning Online provides a wealth of specific active learning exercises that you can implement in your classes immediately. Further, it provides you with the tools to create your own active learning exercises, tailored to your specific interests and the subject matter of your class.

To provide the very best, scientifically-proven online learning experience (not to mention hybrid and in-person learning experiences), Active Learning Online is an invaluable resource for instructors, course designers, school administrations and teacher-education students.

Stephen M. Kosslyn is currently the Founder, President and Chief Academic Officer of Foundry College and is Founder and President of Active Learning Sciences. Prior to that, he was Founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the Minerva Schools at the Keck Graduate Institute. He previously served as Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University after having been chair of the Department of Psychology, Dean of Social Science, and the John Lindsley Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. While at Harvard, he was also co-director of the Mind of the Market Lab at Harvard Business School and a member of the Department of Neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He received a B.A. from UCLA and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, both in psychology. Kosslyns research has focused on the nature of visual cognition, visual communication, and the science of learning; he has authored or coauthored 14 books and over 300 papers on these topics. Kosslyn has received numerous honors, including the National Academy of Sciences Initiatives in Research Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three honorary Doctorates (University of Caen, University of Paris Descartes, Bern University), and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

This small book contains big ideas about active learning, both online and in-person. Kosslyn bridges his knowledge of cognitive science with his experience in two education technology start-ups to provide a pedagogical handbook of sorts. Using engaging research studies, Kosslyn begins with an overview of basic cognitive functions, specifically how we organize, store and access information in memory. From here, he presents his own taxonomy of five learning principles: deep processing, chunking, associations, dual coding and deliberate practice. Then comes the lesson for instructors, as we come to appreciate exercises grounded in these principles. After reading this book, you will abandon the lecture for a brief lecture followed by active learning exercises, for example asking students to teach another student, to take the perspective or others through role playing or debate, to create content like a podcast and more. If your goal is to teach to make material stick with your students, and it should be, this book will be your guide.
Kathleen McCartney, President, Smith College

Stephen Kosslyn, one of the worlds leading researchers on the science of learning, provides practical, easy-to-use methods that help students learn more effectively-- especially online, synchronously and asynchronously, and at scale. This book is an invaluable tool for all educators, and an enlightening resource for anyone interested in improving current education practices.
Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO, Coursera

Every parent and student who were already online learners or who have been pushed by the pandemic into the online world should read this book. Professor Kosslyn has dedicated his academic life to the study of how human beings learn and has developed extremely valuable lessons in how to thrive in a virtual classroom.
Bob Kerrey, former U.S. Senator; President Emeritus, The New School

Active learning is a good idea thats rarely implemented. Stephen Kosslyn makes here a persuasive case for its adoption and gives a straightforward plan to create more engaging and effective courses. Thats no surprise, because he effortlessly combines enormous insight and experience into creative solutions.
John Katzman, Founder and CEO of Noodle, and Founder and Former CEO of 2U and Princeton Review

I cannot tell you how excited I am by this book! It absolutely is my go-to recommendation in the space and is required reading for our whole curriculum team. Its the perfect combination of theory and application with 0% fluff. I was familiar with many of the concepts in it, but only after ridiculous amounts of reading and discussions around the topic. This seems to be the exact slice of the field someone needs to actually build a class with the best teaching techniques in active learning.
Aaron Rasmussen, Founder and CEO of, Co-Founder of MasterClass

How do we ensure online learning lives up to its promise and potential? In Active Learning Online, Stephen Kosslyn equips educators everywhere by delivering fresh perspectives on the science of learning along with practical ways they can be applied in real life courses.
For all the years Ive been involved in adult learning and active learning, this book still surprised me with brilliant insights and made me think about how to implement his ideas.
Mary Hawkins, President, Bellevue University

This is a phenomenally readable, concise and efficient summary of the current science of active learning and how it can improve your teaching. It is full of useful examples and clear explanations. While most of illuminating suggestions are applied to online teaching, the practical advice here will also easily be applied to any teaching situation. There is no better overview of this exploding field and there could not be a better time for this book. Read it
in a morning and have your teaching transformed by the afternoon.
Jose Bowen, President Emeritus, Goucher College

At last--a book that summarizes principles from the learning sciences that is at once both accessible and actionable! Any educator at any skill level will be able to derive value from Kosslyns valuable contribution to improve the experience they offer students.
Michael B. Horn, coauthor of Choosing College and Co-Founder of the Clayton
Christensen Institute

Active Learning Online is an extraordinary work that will revolutionize the way you think about education, and will shape both educational practice and conversations about effective education for many years and decades to come.
Daniel J. Levitin, author of bestsellers This Is Your Brain on Music, The Organized Mind, and Successful Aging

Drawing skillfully on a lifetime of teaching, conducting research, and leading educational institutions, cognitive psychologist Stephen Kosslyn distills the key components of effective educationon line, as well as in the live classroom. This book is timely and should be useful for any instructor.
Howard Gardner, Hobbs Research Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Sold By Alinea Learning
ISBNs 9781735810713, 9781735810706
Publish Year 2020
Language English
Edition 1st
Course Name Distance Learning