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Although the use of active-learning strategies in the classroom is effective, it is underutilized due to resistance to change from the traditional classroom, a limited evidence base for optimizing engaged learning, and limited support for faculty to overhaul their course structure. Despite these barriers, engaged learning is highly relevant, as the expected job skills of graduates continue to grow and are biased away from rote memorization and toward critical thinking and communication skills. The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines continue to accrue evidence demonstrating that different engaged-learning formats provide for better learning and preparation for careers. This article describes 2 innovative course formats the authors have used to increase student engagement and enhance competence in the areas of critical thinking, evidence gathering, and scientific communication. Furthermore, the authors discuss what they have learned while applying these teaching approaches to the development of new courses and the enhancement of established courses.
The authors are with the Dept. of Movement Science, School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.