Guidelines for Contributions

Specific information on each contribution type:

Hands-on sessions: Hands-on activities are a defining feature of the ALE Workshops -- at ALE workshops, we don't just talk about active learning, we engage in it. Hands-on activities provide a venue for participants to experience and reflect upon an issue or idea related to active learning. Successful previous activities have included:

  • *Rules and Learning*: Participants take part in a paper airplane design competition in which different teams are unknowingly provided with different sets of rules. These different rules naturally lead to substantial differences in team attitudes and approaches. Following the completion of the competition, participants discuss and reflect upon the ways in which rules can influence student learning.
  • *Putting Theory into Practice*: A facilitator leads participants in a discussion of features of effective learning experiences. This discussion is followed by a course design session, in which teams of participants try to bring their theoretical discussion to bear on the practical matter of designing a course to meet certain learning objectives. Teams create posters to describe their course design, and the ideas are presented for discussion to the larger group.
  • *Tinkering - Thinking in 3D*: Participants utilize a novel three-dimensional ideation technique in order to explore the role of artefacts in communication and idea generation. Following experience with the technique, participants use an affinity diagramming technique to seed discussion.

All hands-on sessions must include an activity for participants to experience, followed by reflection and discussion, around specific issues arising from the group activity. A hands-on session lasts from 90 to 180 minutes following the schedule:

A 90 minutes hands-on session:

  • 10 minutes: Introduction (setting the scene)
  • 60 minutes: Hands-on Activity (incl. summing-up)
  • 20 minutes: Discussion & Evaluation & Conclusions

A 180 minutes hands-on session: 

  • 10 minutes: Introduction (setting the scene)
  • 150 minutes: Hands-on Activity (incl. summing-up)
  • 20 minutes: Discussion & Evaluation & Conclusions


Debate sessions : Debate sessions will focus on specific issues related to active learning in engineering education. Several proposals on the same issue will be grouped together for a stimulating debate between the panel members and the public attending the session. During the session, to give everyone present the opportunity to play an active role, the members of the panel will briefly highlight the key points or questions raised in their papers. A debate will follow, led by two facilitators. Full papers will be available at the beginning of the workshop so that they can be read prior to the session. A debate session lasts 120 minutes following the schedule:

  • 10 minutes: Introduction (facilitators will set the scene for each topic)
  • 40 minutes: Selected theme-paper presentations (5 minute presentations maximum)
  • 50 minutes: Discussion
  • 20 minutes: Summing-up (by the session facilitators)


Active Poster session: The posters presented at the workshop should be

  • thought provoking from a pedagogical point of view or
  • descriptive of approaches currently practised in engineering courses or in activities offered to high school students.

In both cases they should raise an issue for discussion about issues in active learning. Posters will be grouped according to topics and presenters will have the opportunity to explain and discuss their content with the workshop participants. Full papers will be available at the beginning of the workshop so that they can be read prior to the session. More information about the Active Poster session will be provided soon.

If you wish to contribute to one or more of the session types, you must submit an abstract, following the abstract template.