Learning by doing: Twenty successful active learning exercises for information systems courses

Alanah Mitchell, Stacie Petter, Albert L. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Aim/Purpose This paper provides a review of previously published work related to active learning in information systems (IS) courses. Background There are a rising number of strategies in higher education that offer promise in regards to getting students' attention and helping them learn, such as flipped classrooms and offering courses online. These learning strategies are part of the pedagogical technique known as active learning. Active learning is a strategy that became popular in the early 1990s and has proven itself as a valid tool for help-ing students to be engaged with learning. Methodology This work follows a systematic method for identifying and coding previous re-search based on an aspect of interest. The authors identified and assessed re-search through a search of ABI/Inform scholarly journal abstracts and key-words, as well as additional research databases, using the search terms "active learning" and "information systems" from 2000 through June 2016. Contribution This synthesis of active learning exercises provides guidance for information technology faculty looking to implement active learning strategies in their class-room by demonstrating how IS faculty might begin to introduce more active learning techniques in their teaching as well as by presenting a sample teaching agenda for a class that uses a mix of active and passive learning techniques to engage student learning. Findings Twenty successful types of active learning exercises in IS courses are presented. Recommendations for Practitioners This paper offers a "how to" resource of successful active learning strategies for IS faculty interested in implementing active learning in the classroom. Recommendation for Researchers This work provides an example of a systematic literature review as a means to assess successful implementations of active learning in IS. Impact on Society An updated definition of active learning is presented as well as a meaningful list of exercises that encourage active learning both inside and outside of the IS classroom. Future Research In relation to future research, this study highlights a number of opportunities for IS faculty in regards to new active learning activities or trends to study fur-ther.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-46
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Active learning
  • Critical thinking
  • IS curriculum
  • Information systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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