In the present scenario of education system, all people are under pressure to use the innovative strategies in the teaching and learning process, to teach students the knowledge and skills that are required for the 21st century. Active learning is a term used to identify teaching methods that require students to be actively involved in the learning process. Although there is clear evidence for the benefits of active learning, most lecturers in higher education still adhere to traditional teaching methods. This paper seeks to identity the characteristics and attitudes of “active instructors” towards active learning and discerning a distinction between these attitudes and those of the remaining instructors. This study examined the attitudes of 160 lecturers in three higher education institutions in East Ethiopia. The research used attitude questionnaire developed specially for this study on the basis of the experience of 7 ‘’active instructors” exposing the process of change they had undergone moving from traditional teaching to more active instruction. An analysis of these interviews provided the basis for characterizing the attitudes of “active instructors” and subsequently for the development of the research questionnaire. Based on a literature review and an examination of the attitudes of ‘’active instructors’’ a content analysis was undertaken in which the attitudes were grouped into six key domains that can characterize the tendency of a lecturer to adopt active teaching. The findings reveal that in all these six domains there were differences between the attitudes of “instructors” and their colleagues. This diagnostic tool can supply crucial information to the college and universities directors when planning supportive steps toward advancing active learning in their institutions.
Key words: Active learning, instructors’ attitudes, traditional learning versus active learning, scale-up, innovation.
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