When you actively think, say, do and experience anything directly you are actively learning. Research shows that people retain 90% of what they say and do, compared to only 10% of what is read, 20% of what is heard, and 30% of what is seen. You could theoretically retain 100% if you actively participate in your own learning, actively use all your senses while doing so, and actively think as you learn. Passive learning assumes that no action is required on your part to learn. Active learning challenges the common education approach of teaching through passive learning. When was the last time you passively learned anything? When was the last time you actively learned anything?
Active versus passive
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How to be active
There are many ways to actively learn. By actively participating in this course you will learn what processes have been developed to encourage active learning.
Do you know how to drive? Do you know how to ride a bike? Do you remember how you learned to? Did someone tell you how? Did someone demonstrate how? Chances are you got on the bike or behind the drivers seat and learned by doing it for yourself.
Asking questions can help you learn almost anything. By asking questions you are doing something to help yourself learn. Can you think of some questions you have asked recently?
When you ask a person questions or engage in conversation a change in communication takes place, you begin to listen while the other person talks. Reflective listening is a communication strategy where you actively listen attentively to the speaker for their meaning and afterwards repeat what the speaker said in your own words to confirm whether you understood the person. While you engage in reflective listening you should suspend any judgment or thoughts you might have until after you confirm that you correctly understood the person.
To solve problems people often use problem solving skills. Problem solving is a mental process that occurs when you need or want to reach a desired goal. Problem solving involves active learning when you learn from asking questions, brainstorming, analyzing the problem, thinking about the problem, using creativity to solve the problem, or do anything to find possible solutions to the problem. What was the last problem you recently tried to solve? Do you remember how you solved or tried to solve the problem? What did you do?
- Active Learning at the Center For Teaching, Learning and Technology
- Active Learning For The College Classroom
- Active Learning Site
- Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom
- Teaching Naked: a related approach that uses the classroom for active learning, as opposed to lectures.
- M. Prince, "Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research," J. Engr. Education, 93(3), 223-231 (2004).