A review of the application of active learning pedagogies in undergraduate animal science curricula

Elizabeth C. Ragland, Scott Radcliffe, Elizabeth L. Karcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


With most of the student attrition occurring early in undergraduate educational programs (Braunstein et al., 1997) it is necessary to interest and motivate students early on. The demographics of animal science students have shifted to students with minimal background in food producing animals. This presents a unique challenge as the current student population represents a diverse array of backgrounds and prior experiences. As a result, students enroll in undergraduate animal science programs with various expectations for their undergraduate degree and a focus primarily on careers in veterinary medicine. To engage all students, interest and motivation need to be generated. This review will use motivational frameworks as outlined by the self-determination theory, expectancy value theory, and interest, to explain the impact of the proposed solutions. Active learning classroom strategies are linked to increased knowledge compared with traditional, passive classrooms (Wells et al., 2019). Active learning shifts from a traditional teaching model to a student-centered model, which transitions instructors to facilitators of learning. This review summarizes current proposed pedagogies that have been researched in animal science classrooms such as experiential learning, flipped classrooms, hands-on animal experience, undergraduate research experiences, mentorship opportunities, capstone experiences, service-learning experiences, team-based learning, and cooperative learning. The limitations of these proposed pedagogies and the future research needed are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberskac352
JournalJournal of Animal Science
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s).


  • active learning
  • animal science
  • experiential learning
  • interest
  • motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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