There are a wide range of alternatives for the term "active learning" like learning through play, technology-based learning, activity-based learning, group work, project method, etc. Active learning is the opposite of passive learning ; it is learner-centered , not teacher-centered, and requires more than just listening; the active participation of each and every student is a necessary aspect in active learning. Students must be doing things and simultaneously think about the work done and the purpose behind it so that they can enhance their higher order thinking capabilities.
Many research studies [ by whom? However, some students as well as teachers find it difficult to adapt to the new learning technique. There is intensive use of scientific and quantitative literacy across the curriculum and technology-based learning is also in high demand in concern with active learning.
Active learning requires appropriate learning environments through the implementation of correct strategy. Characteristics of learning environment are:  . Active learning coordinates with the principles of constructivism which are, cognitive, meta-cognitive, evolving and affective in nature. Studies have shown that immediate results in construction of knowledge is not possible through active learning, the child goes through process of knowledge construction, knowledge recording and knowledge absorption.
This process of knowledge construction is dependent on previous knowledge of the learner where the learner is self-aware of the process of cognition and can control and regulate it by themselves. Active learning has been definitively shown to be superior to lectures in promoting both comprehension and memory Freeman et al. The reason it is so effective is that it draws on underlying characteristics of how the mind and brain operate during learning. These characteristics have been documented by thousands of empirical studies e. Each of these principles can be drawn on by various active learning exercises.
Maxim I: Think it Through . Using desirable difficulty: ensuring that the activity is neither too easy nor too hard Bjork, , ; VanLehn et al. Evoking emotion: generating feelings to enhance recall Erk et al.
Active learning - Wikipedia
Active learning typically draws on combinations of these principles. For example, a well-run debate will draw on virtually all, with the exceptions of dual coding, interleaving, and spaced practice. In contrast, passively listening to a lecture rarely draws on any.
Bonwell and Eison suggested learners work collaboratively, discuss materials while role-playing , debate , engage in case study , take part in cooperative learning , or produce short written exercises, etc. The argument is "when should active learning exercises be used during instruction? Numerous studies have shown that introducing active learning activities such as simulations, games, contrasting cases, labs,.. In an active learning environment learners are immersed in experiences within which they engage in meaning-making inquiry, action, imagination, invention, interaction, hypothesizing and personal reflection Cranton To have active learning experience, use of technology tools and multimedia helps enhance the atmosphere of the classroom.
Each student actively engages in the learning process. Using movies and games the teacher can make the experience more effective. Numerous studies have shown evidence to support active learning, given adequate prior instruction. Because the findings were so robust with regard to study methodology, extent of controls, and subject matter, the National Academy of Science publication suggests that it might be unethical to continue to use traditional lecture approach as a control group in such studies.
The largest positive effects were seen in class sizes under 50 students and among students under-represented in STEM fields. In "Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research", Prince found that "there is broad but uneven support for the core elements of active, collaborative, cooperative and problem-based learning " in engineering education. Michael ,  in reviewing the applicability of active learning to physiology education, found a "growing body of research within specific scientific teaching communities that supports and validates the new approaches to teaching that have been adopted.
One study described in the report found that students in traditional lecture courses were twice as likely to leave engineering and three times as likely to drop out of college entirely compared with students taught using active learning techniques. In another cited study, students in a physics class that used active learning methods learned twice as much as those taught in a traditional class, as measured by test results.
In history, the student is required to read and analyse documents of various kinds and to contextualise them using the bibliography and published sources. Such exercises will be more or less elaborate and more or less original according to level of study. In earth science students are asked to organise presentations, written or oral, of the material collected and to show that they have interpreted it properly using the relevant literature. Feedback on students' efforts is perceived as particularly important for this competence, and is in the form of written or oral comments on student work.
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On the basis of the reports it seems that the subject areas have a clear perception of the importance of this competence and that it is developed and assessed — to varying degrees of complexity and characteristics that are determined by the subject area — in all disciplinary studies. This competence is seen as central to three subject areas, Education, Nursing and Business Studies, all of which in one way or another provide specific activities to develop what is perceived as an important competence for the subject area as well as an important general competence.
For the other subject areas, this competence is perceived as useful or necessary for survival, citizenship and employment, but not subject related — and according to some reports not even very important.
In Business Studies the means mentioned for developing these skills are group work, presentations, specific lectures, training-coaching course. A specific kind of activity is a computer-based Business Studies game in which groups of students must act out realistic business scenarios, working in groups and dealing with issues of group dynamics, time management, decision making and so forth.
Nonetheless, it is stated that except for the actual performance in such activities, there is little knowledge of how to evaluate and assess interpersonal skills and that this competence needs further work. In Education and Nursing, the interpersonal skills cluster of competences is at the centre of reflection. In fact, in a very meaningful sense, for many graduates of Education and Nursing their work is an entirely interpersonal activity.
In Nursing particular communication aspects are key skills, such as presencing, observation, listening, asking questions, non-verbal communication, ability to have conversations with different groups of interlocutors, leading and participating in meetings. These skills are often contextualized in written practices, including, for example, preparing written health promotion materials for different audiences. In Education, there also is a great awareness of the different aspects that this competence has. Interpersonal skills are defined as including not only the ability to work in a group, to present one's projects effectively and possibly to develop leadership skills — here emphasis is placed on the dialogic nature of interpersonal skills and of the teaching-learning process.
SAGs noted that students should be and will inevitably be in possession of many interpersonal skills when they start higher education; however the considerations of the Education and Nursing groups underline that the higher education experience must add substantially to those competences, and must indeed give a whole new cast to them. This will not surprise given the importance of interpersonal abilities for those fields. The ways in which such competences can be developed start from making students aware of the fact that they have much to learn in this field, i.
Another important aspect is for the student to find out whether what they believe they said was understood that way by others. An aim of these activities is to develop awareness and confidence in their interpersonal know-how in the students. All the competences developed are put into play in practice when the students actually enter the workplace in a training setting. Students in this case will observe role models in action and analyse what they see and hear; students also keep a personal diary or log of their experiences and observations. Results can be assessed fairly effectively in the context of the activities mentioned.
Some teachers consulted by the Education group were sceptical about whether these skills could really be taught and learned formally or accurately assessed.
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However, most teacher education programmes make use of competence-based assessment procedures to assess the classroom practice elements of courses. These include formal assessment of the students' competence in interpersonal areas such as questioning, classroom management, teacher-pupil relations, and teamwork with colleagues and so on.
The strategies outlined certainly have the merit of creating an environment in which interpersonal skills can be explicitly considered and their development targeted. It is stated that students are aware of whether they have been successful in acquiring the appropriate interpersonal skills when they feel confident in groups and in their practice teaching.
This feeling of confidence may be of varying value in different countries as an indication of successful achievement. The perception and feedback of others, particularly learners, would seem to be more significant. The importance and range of communication skills for Nurses is made explicit in programme outlines and assessment procedures. Overall, on the basis of the reports available, it appears that interpersonal skills may not be taken sufficiently into consideration by higher education academics, with the exception of those in whose subject area those competences or skills are thought to be fundamental.
This is not surprising, considering that interpersonal skills are perhaps exactly the kind of competence that traditional university education ignored and which nonetheless are of great importance in the educational process. This may be the case in wholly mono-cultural contexts, but how many of those are there in 21 st century Europe , or, indeed, 21st century anywhere? It is not proposed here that all subject areas imitate the Education, Nursing and Business Studies SAGs in the emphasis given to this group of skills and competences, nor that the same teaching and learning strategies be used.
However, students in all subject areas would benefit if programmes were to address more explicit, analytical and practical attention to this group of competences because there is no doubt that whatever employment a graduate will find, these skills will be of use to them.
Hence a useful direction of endeavour to educate the educators could be to develop awareness, both in our capacity as teachers and as learners, of this group of skills. The ability to work autonomously is prized in all subject areas. Naturally in real life - post graduation -- the ability to organise available time, choose priorities, work to deadlines and deliver what has been agreed on, is essential for personal and professional life and citizenship in general.
At present, the main methods reported of developing this competence in students are, in the initial stages of higher education, to ask the students to use methods other than lectures e. Some recommendations are made not to harass students with many small deadlines, or to give constant reminders of deadlines, letting the students learn to organise their time by having to do it. The final paper or dissertation is seen as a particularly useful means of ascertaining whether the student has learned to use time and organise complex tasks effectively.
Experience shows that national traditions are very different in the attitudes and practices with regard to student autonomy.
Strategies to mitigate student resistance to active learning
In some countries, particularly where students are more mature when they start their studies, they are considered to be adults from the very beginning, attendance is not mandatory and deadlines are quite flexible, going to the point of giving students the opportunity of staking all on a final exam — for a course, for a year, or even for an entire course of study. The other extreme is based on a closely structured course organisation in which students are given specific study tasks which are checked during the semester writing papers, or reading and studying certain material on which the student is tested according to a strict time schedule, often coordinated with other time schedules in the department or Faculty to avoid overlap.
In this case the basic strategy is to insist on the student having accomplished the task on time, in a context perhaps reminiscent of school organisation, but perhaps without the leeway permitted in school. It is interesting to see, in fact, that for some the ability to work autonomously can be developed by a sink or swim strategy, whereas for others, it can be accomplished by enforcing and insisting on the respect of a framework of task organisation decided by the teacher.
As part of formal programmes of study in most subject disciplines students are required to be appropriately skilful in aspects of computing and information technology.
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Within programmes of study in different subject disciplines this competence may be seen as one or more of. Under each of these the content, emphasis and weight within the curriculum will vary considerably with the subject discipline. At one extreme, it may be assumed that students have the necessary competence on entry to the programme or that they will informally acquire necessary competences as they progress through their studies. This is likely to be the case where computer skills are seen only as a relatively elementary skill, both in terms of supporting study and enhancing future employability.
Not all SAGs focussed on this competence in the consultation, even though their subject is one were computer applications are very widely used, e.
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Those SAGs which did address this competence emphasised that the objective is that the student feel confident to approach and use a computer for any type of activity required by the subject curriculum. Detailed responses reported the need for students to be able to create and store information on any media, e-mail, search on the web, and specifically have experience in data logging of experimental apparatus to a computer and processing of the resulting data, use subject specific software Chemistry.
Word processing or special software to present in words or graphics plotting or calculate, evaluate and access information wherever it is available Physics. Students are also increasingly asked to become familiar with learning spaces to make use of new forms of e-learning via facilities such as the use of communications networks and new educational technologies. Modern e-learning management systems usually use special facilities such as virtual learning environments e. WebCT, Blackboard , newsrooms, direct web-links Education. The competence is also a requirement for writing papers such as theses, dissertations in an adequate format, fulfilling all academic standards in terms as footnotes, literature and source review History.
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