Active Teaching and Learning

Tools for Active Teaching and Learning


Partner: Belgian Development Agency (BTC) Year: 2016 Sector: Education

The Challenge:

The teaching methods in the education system in Uganda has traditionally been a one-way process; the teachers lecture the pupils on what they should know and the students reproduce this knowledge in tests and assignments, without necessarily understanding the content. Active participation in the learning process and critical thinking has not been encouraged.


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 The Belgian Development Agency (BTC) collaborated with educational experts in Uganda to reform this tradition. They looked at principles and practices of learner centered pedagogy as a teaching approach to achieve quality education. A manual was developed for introducing Active Teaching and Learning (ATL) principles to about 300 teachers in 9 different National Teacher Colleges supported by BTC throughout Uganda in the period from 2014 to 2016. ATL requires active involvement and the teachers in the training program did not manage sufficiently to put their own learning into action. The content of the manual and the training program delivered by BTC needed to be adjusted into a more user-friendly format.  

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Design without Borders was assigned the task to develop a more user-friendly version of the training manual. The goal was to make an attractive and user-friendly kit that communicates the ATL teaching material in an optimized manner with the aim to stimulate the teachers in using their pedagogic skills and improving the students learning. 

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 The designers started by looking into the how ATL manual is used by the teachers and how it may be improved. They went through all the documentation provided and looked for a red thread that could bind the content together into more intuitive and easy-to-use format that the teachers can use on a day to day basis.

The content had to remain the same, but connected more cohesively for classroom use. The elements of the new design consist of a written guide containing background theoretical information; a set of cards to be used for teaching practice before and during a class, and a classroom poster that will be a visual reminder for use of active teaching and learning in the classroom for both teachers and students.

The Belgian Development Agency (BTC) is commissioned by the Belgian Government to support and provide guidance to development programs. The Government of Uganda in collaboration with the Belgian Government has recognized the importance of secondary teacher training and is to support interventions geared towards the improvement of teacher training provided by the National Teachers’ Colleges (NTCs) in Uganda, as well as other colleges responsible for training tutors and lecturers for business, technical, health and vocational education and training (BTVET).


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