Cognitive and Social Aspects of Engagement in Active Learning


  • Milo Koretsky Oregon State University • Corvallis, OR 97331-2702


  This article reports analysis of students’ written reflections as to what helps them learn in an active learning environment. Eight hundred and twenty seven responses from 403 students in four different studio courses over two years were analyzed. An emergent coding scheme identified 55% of the responses as associated with cognitive processes (practice problem solving; connection to lecture; conceptual understanding) and 42% as social processes (small group interactions; guidance and help from the TA). Of the many responses that contained multiple codes, the most common coupling was between a cognitive and social process. These results are discussed in terms of social construction of knowledge and resulting instructional recommendations are provided.

Author Biography

Milo Koretsky, Oregon State University • Corvallis, OR 97331-2702

Milo Koretsky is a professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in chemical engineering. He is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher-level cognitive and social skills in engineering problem solving. His research interests particularly focus on what prevents students from being able to integrate and extend the knowledge developed in specific courses in the core curriculum to the more complex, authentic problems and projects they face as professionals.