Active Learning Classroom is a term often used to describe the learner-centered, technology supported, collaborative learning environment. This type of classroom allows the instructor to move beyond the traditional lecture format and engage students in participatory learning activities.
Features of an Active Learning Classroom:
- Teaching strategies that require participation and collaboration
- Ability for instructors to monitor student activities and coach effectively
- Technology that allows instructor and students to share and present seamlessly
- Flexible furniture arrangements and multiple writing surfaces to support team activities
Why use Active Learning?
Although lecture remains the predominant mode of instruction, more and more instructors are recognizing the benefits of making the classroom learner focused. Education research also makes a strong case for active learning as it improves educational outcomes for both instructors and students (see, for example; Prince, "Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research", Terenzini, et al., Collaborative Learning vs. Lecture/Discussion: Students’ Reported Learning Gains.)
Ten Benefits of Active Learning Drawn From Theory
- Students are more likely to access their own prior knowledge, which is a key to learning.
- Students are more likely to find personally meaningful problem solutions or interpretations.
- Students receive more frequent and more immediate feedback.
- The need to produce forces learners to retrieve information from memory rather than simply recognizing a correct statement.
- Students increase their self-confidence and self-reliance.
- For most learners, it is more motivating to be active than passive.
- A task that you have done yourself or as part of a group is more highly valued.
- Student conceptions of knowledge change, which in turn has implications for cognitive development.
- Students who work together on active learning tasks learn to work with other people of different backgrounds and attitudes.
- Students learn strategies for learning itself by observing others.
(Source: Dr. Marilla Svinicki, EDP 398T College Teaching Methodology, University of Texas at Austin)