Innovative Teaching Methods In Higher Education

In a world where almost everything is vying for our attention, educators have to work twice as hard to keep their students focused and maintain their interest in learning. This requires not just expertise but a certain level of creativity and innovation. Traditional teaching styles can get boring and cause the students to lose interest very quickly. As a result, educators worldwide have come up with innovative teaching methods in higher education that they can utilize in the classroom. These new methods are typically more creative, exciting, and interactive than the conventional classroom teaching style. 

Studies have shown that innovative teaching styles can significantly influence the progress in student learning and improve their engagement in the classroom. Educators who wish to use innovative teaching methods have several available options to select from, depending on their classroom type and subject. 

Many of these contemporary teaching methods are student-centered and involve the use of technological aids that make learning more accessible and more enjoyable. 

In this article, we would explore the following:

  • What Are Teaching Methods?
  • Traditional and Innovative Teaching Methods
  • 15 Innovative Teaching Methods in Higher Education

What Are Teaching Methods?

Teaching methods encompass all the principles and strategies used in a classroom setting to facilitate learning. It refers to the processes or methodology a teacher employs when imparting knowledge to the students. 

There are various teaching styles an educator can use depending on the student population, school policy, field of study, and educational philosophy of the tutor. In some instances, educators can employ multiple teaching methods to teach the same students. 

Teaching with different styles began in the 1900s when various studies showed that students learn at different paces. As a result, they cannot all assimilate the same amount of knowledge simultaneously in the same way. 

In the same vein, the type of teaching method used by the teacher influences the students’ rate of learning and thinking patterns. For example, a recent study on high school students highlighted the significance of collaborative learning (a modern teaching method) on the students’ ability to think critically. 

Such studies are one of the main reasons many educators today opt to use innovative teaching methods in higher education for their students. 

Traditional and Innovative Teaching Methods 

The traditional teaching method is one of the two approaches to learning. It is a teaching style that involves using a blackboard and chalk to teach while the students take notes from what the teacher writes on the board. It is the most common teaching style, and it makes the teacher the principal source of knowledge. 

An innovative or modern teaching method is a learning approach that incorporates the use of creative ideas and technological devices in passing across information to students. The teacher is not the only source of knowledge, and learning is both visual and interactive.

One noticeable difference between the traditional teaching method and the innovative teaching method is using digital devices in place of a blackboard and chalk to pass information. Animated video lectures enable students to learn faster and retain information easier than writing on a blackboard.

Although innovative teaching methods in higher education are very effective, they can be a bit expensive to implement in rural areas. They would require a basic knowledge of computers to carry out successfully. On the other hand, the traditional teaching method is very cheap and easy to implement almost anywhere.

Another essential difference between both styles of teaching is the mode of learning. The traditional teaching method is centered on the teacher, and the students are restricted to learning from the syllabus. In a modern classroom, however, learning is student-centered and highly interactive.

 It encourages critical thinking, collaborative learning, and skill development.

15 Innovative Teaching Methods In Higher Education 

Educators need to select the most suitable teaching method for the students to learn from. This is not an easy task as the teacher must ensure the teaching style is correctly executed for optimal learning to occur. Fortunately, there is a wide range of teaching methods available to educators. Here are 15 innovative teaching methods in higher education to select from: 

Cross-over Learning

Crossover learning is an innovative teaching method that does not require much use of technology. However, it is pretty similar to a traditional class setting, including field trips and out-of-class experiences facilitating learning. 

The educator organizes seminars, projects, and excursions to outdoor sites as a means for the students to learn and gain more knowledge on the subject. Based on the experience, questions are generated, and discussion is encouraged among the students to find answers.

3D Printing Teaching Method

3D Printing technology is a very creative way of learning. It is fast becoming a popular modern teaching method for students in higher institutions. The teacher uses a 3D printer to create a prototype of an object, such that the students can physically see and handle the concept that they’re teaching.

This teaching style is suitable for science, engineering, or technology subjects. It makes complex topics easy to understand.

Flipped Classroom Teaching Method

One of the most popular innovative teaching methods is the flipped classroom teaching model. It incorporates using technology mainly via video lectures, screencasting tools, editing, and educational apps to enable learning among the students. 

The teacher shares the class material in the form of a video lecture before the class. The students then go ahead to study and get familiar with it before the class. Then, when the students come to class, the educator creates room for discussion on the material’s content, answering questions, and deepening learning. 

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is a modern teaching style where the educator breaks the students into smaller groups to work on problems together, share ideas, debate, and teach each other. It is a form of group learning. 

The teacher simply acts as a guide in this case. Through this teaching style, students can learn to work in teams and develop listening, brainstorming, communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.  

Game-based Learning

Teaching students through the use of games is another popular modern teaching method. For this method, the teacher creates a series of quests or objectives for the students to complete by choosing the best course of action. At each successful completion stage, the students get reward points, which is similar to video games. 

Creating a game-based learning environment can be challenging, but with the help of tools such as Classcraft, teachers can turn their classroom into a gamified setting. Through this teaching style, students can develop practical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. 

Expeditionary Learning

Expeditionary learning is one of the practical, innovative teaching methods in higher education that many teachers use. Learning occurs in outdoor project-like environments. 

The teacher takes the students on expeditions related to the subject, which provides them with real-life experience of problem-solving. What follows is a detailed analysis of the topic under study, further discussion on finding solutions to problems in the community, and how to implement them. 

At the end of the project, the students would present their reports to the class. 

Spaced Learning

The spaced learning teaching method is another innovative teaching style. The educator teaches a particular lesson many times but gives the student a break at specific intervals. 

The break intervals are for engaging in mindful or physical activities that enable memory retention. The idea behind this teaching style is to develop both the mental and physical health of the student through specific mindful techniques.

Virtual Reality Teaching Method

The virtual reality teaching method is a high-tech innovative teaching style. It allows the students to experience the world using 3D technology. Subjects like History, Geology, or Astronomy can become more exciting and realistic for the students when they are taught using virtual reality technology.

The teacher can simply transport the students to previous centuries or to another planet where they can explore and experience all they are being taught. Learning is a lot more interesting and relatable for the students when teaching using this method. 

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is a modern teaching method that encourages self-directed learning. The students are each given a personalized curriculum to follow, that is tailored to their abilities and interests. 

Students’ assessment is based on their competency, and progress occurs only after completely learning one topic. As a teacher, you can easily identify and help students in need of assistance in any area.

Inquiry-based Learning

The inquiry-based teaching method is a modern teaching style centered on the student’s learning by asking questions. The role of the teacher in this method can either be a delegator, facilitator, or personal model. 

Basic technology knowledge is also needed for this method as the students are expected to conduct their research online. 

VAK Teaching

The Visual, Audio, and Kinesthetic (VAK) teaching model is an innovative teaching method. The educator first understands the mode of learning best suited for the students and then uses that mode to teach. 

Students who assimilate best through their eyes (visual) are categorized separately from those who learn better by touching (kinesthetic). Finally, information is presented to each group based on their preferred mode of learning. 

Differentiated Instruction Teaching Method

The differentiated instruction teaching style is a modern teaching method that ensures all students learn irrespective of their individual needs. The educator differentiates the students and meets their individual needs through a variety of organized activities. 

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is another innovative teaching method in higher education that involves using the cloud to save important class materials and assignments that the students can easily access at home or anywhere else.

Smartboard Teaching Methods

Smartboards are interactive teaching boards that educators utilize to make learning more interesting. In addition, they help recreate the teaching content such that it is more engaging and easier to comprehend. 

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is a modern style of teaching in which the students solve problems together in small groups. The teacher plays the role of a facilitator, gently guiding the students to the answers.


The teaching method an educator uses in a classroom determines how well the students can learn. As a result, teachers have to carefully consider which innovative teaching methods in higher education best suit their classroom.

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