Active learning makes a difference!
To some degree, we all intuit that getting students actively involved in class will help them learn, but it's not always obvious just how much it helps them. The truth is it helps a lot and the research is there to prove it!
Our favorite definition for active learning comes from Scott Freeman et al in their meta study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
"Active learning engages students in the process of learning through activities and/or discussion in class, as opposed to passively listening to an expert. It emphasizes higher-order thinking and often involves group work."
We know that students who feel engaged in material relevant to their lives and who feel a sense of belonging or connection to their teacher and peers, are more likely to stay in school.
Engagement In Course Materials: In active learning classes students complete their readings and study more than students in lecture (or “less structured”) classes.
Hear from Every Student in the Room: Active learning narrows the achievement gap for women and minority students. Participation rates, exam scores, and final grades increase for these groups when they are engaged in more structured classes instead of passive listening.
Increased Performance: Active learning provides students many opportunities to re-engage with the same material, leading to better understanding, deeper thinking, and higher levels of achievement. These students also show better classroom behavior, improving the atmosphere of the room.
Benefits of Active Learning
The Pear Deck Recipe
Three steps to better engagement
Create compelling questions to put the focus on the fascinating truths at the center of your lessons. Pear Deck makes it easy to ask questions that spark curiosity and challenge intuition instead of just delivering facts—letting students become self-motivated learners.
By only asking questions with a right and wrong answer, we make it scary to be wrong. By asking open-ended questions, we show learners how to inquire, stumble, wonder, and discover. Pear Deck helps you ask open-ended questions and engage with every student's answers.
At different points throughout the lesson, ask students to put it in their own words or identify points of confusion. Pear Deck makes it safe to participate while also making it clear that every single person in the room is expected to be thinking and engaged.
Formative Assessment: Why, What, and Whether (James Popham, 2008)
The Best Value in Formative Assessment (Stephen and Jan Chappuis, 2008)
The Right Questions (Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, 2014)
Really detailed example of why it’s important for students to be able to ask good questions and drive their own discovery
Designing Learning That Matters (Joshua Block, 2015)
Math and Inquiry: The Importance of Letting Students Stumble (Katrina Schwartz, 2014)
Are College Lectures Unfair? (Annie Murphy Paul, 2015)