|AM-003| Active Learning: why?

Hello Exam Seekers,

Today we bring you some food for thought. Think about the way education is nowadays. That is, the way classes happen, the design of classrooms and the interactions within it. How much of it leads students to actually learning? To active learning?

So, more than enlightening you on what Active Learning is, we plan to lead you to think about your own practice – and pretty much how learning takes place in class nowadays.

Surface Learning
Let’s start out by reviewing what surface learning means. As the name goes, it is the type of learning that does not go further into the subject. Such learning makes use of rote learning, memorization and focuses on lower-order thinking skills, such as reading, listening and watching, seeing things. However, that sort of learning has proven to be ineffective if you think about long-term learning. Students here take a more ‘passive’ role.

With that in mind, recall your school years, or even how some – I dare say most, actually – schools consider teaching the subjects. How much time do students spend listening to a teacher rather than putting the rules and theory into practice?


Deep Learning
For deep learning, on the other hand, students interact a lot more, using their higher-order thinking skills, such as analyzing, creating, evaluating, etc. This type of learning involves hands-on activities, which gives students more independence regarding their own learning. This is, perhaps, a more active kind of learning since students put their minds into it as well as reflect upon the subject in order to produce something or to discuss it later on.

blended learning
Blended Learning
This concept revolves around teaching both traditionally – in a classroom – and also in a digital format. So classes can be online and students have access to the terminologies and further context online while working with the practical part or other activities in the traditional format, or vice versa. However, the way this type of learning is put into practice varies quite a lot, and there are many ways to apply it.

flipped classroom

Flipped Classroom
A flipped classroom is a module of blended learning, in which you assign the readings and the videos to be read and watched at home. This way, the time of the class is used to have discussions and other sorts of interaction. Here, the teacher works a lot like a mediator and helps students regarding their doubts and during the activities. Therefore, the student has a central role in the classroom, since they need to prepare better to be engaged in the discussions and activities in general.

Active Learning
Now, thinking about all we have seen so far, what is left for Active learning? Why should we start implementing such kind of learning in our lessons? Well, consider that we are all dealing with the 21st-century students who are all connected to the world and come from a more practical environment. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to have students do things rather than simply listen to things. To make students’ learning more engaging in the sense that they can interact, share and actually be in control of the class is quite crucial nowadays. 

So, how active have you been, regarding your own learning? How about the approach you use with your students? Do they engage actively in their learning as well? Share with us your experience, we would love to know about it!

Have a great weekend,
Eve and Patty.

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