Active learning typically involves a two-way interactive experience for students and the teacher, and while this is known to be more effective and motivating for the students, it has traditionally added complexity and been stressful for the teacher. But it doesn’t need to be this way.

Our aim at ChallengeHub is to make it easier to teach better, achieving the benefit of active learning while removing complexity: truly active learning for everyone.

Traditional active learning introduces uncertainty

Teachers using traditional active learning methods are often stressed by factors out of their control and the uncertainty about what is going to happen in class:

  • How much material do I need to prepare for the class?
  • Did students do the assigned pre-class study?
  • What will I need to explain in depth about?
  • If some students finish earlier than others, what should I ask them to do?

Such uncertainty induces a ‘plan for all scenarios’ response, raising teacher stress levels and making it harder to teach well.

How ChallengeHub helps

ChallengeHub addresses such stress through three primary methods:

  1. Making it clear to the teacher ahead of class what preparation is and is not required
  2. Promoting high-quality interaction between students in class
  3. Developing a free flowing yet structured classroom schedule

As students submit answers through ChallengeBot, the teacher has advance view through the dashboard about any difficulties and can anticipate what questions will come up. Students can also leave feedback about individual challenges, further aiding preparation. This not only reduces stress but enables more efficient class preparation too.

In the classroom, ChallengeBot can optimally group students into teams to ensure that most questions can be handled through peer-instruction, and the required interaction with the teacher is kept to manageable levels even with large class sizes.

Even in traditional lectures timing can be an issue, but ChallengeHub enables such uncertainty to become a thing of the past. A typical approach is to follow any short class-wide explanation with team discussion until the end of class, removing the need for an exact timetable of activities. Students will of course progress at different paces through challenges, but this difference can be made level through completion of remaining challenges as homework.

Finally, the rate of challenge completion gives a clear indication as to the appropriate amount of material for each class or week of study, making it easier to get a sense if the course is moving too fast or too slow.


Our vision at ChallengeHub is for active learning to be the norm rather than the exception, and to achieve that we know that making class easier for the teacher is key.

With advance knowledge of student difficulties and optimised in-class peer instruction, ChallengeHub offers a platform for realising such a vision, reducing the complexity of teaching while simultaneously increasing the usefulness of the class for students.

We welcome teachers to work with us to continue innovating for a better education solution that addresses the needs of both students and teachers alike.

James Cannon

Dr James Cannon is an Associate Professor at Kyushu University.
He is the creator of challenge-based active learning and a founder @ChallengeHub.