3 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Active Learning

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We talk a lot about Active Learning on our blog, but we think it’s important to define exactly what Active Learning is. Our favorite definition 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.

From this we can extract three key benefits of using Active Learning in your classroom:

Engagement In Course Materials

In active learning classes students than students in lecture (or “less structured”) classes.

Hearing 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. On average, students taught with active learning outperformed those taught by lectures by 6 percentage points on their exam. That’s the difference between bumping a B- to a B or a B to a B+.

Innovative Teachers

Finally, from our own observations, we would like to point out that Active Learning encourages innovation in both teachers and students. In the past year, we have been lucky enough to work with some of the most innovative teachers and we invite you now to see some of the incredible accomplishments they’ve shared with us: