Educational Technology Innovation and Impact/Why use Technology in Education/Active Learning Theory

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Active Learning Theory Active Learning Theory

Active learning theory comes from “Constructivism” where learning is an active process of knowledge in which learners are active in their own learning. This may be participation in on line discussions through interaction with their peers and tutors. In this active process learners need to do something to make the necessary links between what has bee taught and how they store that knowledge and how the link is made to previous knowledge they have already learnt

Dewey in his book Experience and Education takes this concept further as he identifies that we learn actively through living and experiencing the knowledge we have learnt. We learn from touch feel seeing and hearing etc. and as this is part of living we are learning from being active and experiencing what we are learning

According to Ronald a Berk in his book “professors are from Mars Students are from Snickers” Mendota Press, the only way to get 100% retention of information is by “hearing seeing doing smelling feeling tasting inhaling injecting and purchasing on credit” Most of the time, in a typical classroom setting, students are involved only passively in learning, i.e., in listening to the instructor, looking at the occasional overhead or slide, and reading (when required) the text book. Research shows that such passive involvement generally leads to a limited retention of knowledge by students, as indicated in the 'cone of learning' shown below. The Cone of Learning

Active Learning includes a range of teaching and learning activities. These strategies, supported by decades of classroom research, may be thought of as a continuum from low risk to high risk for both teachers and students. Such a continuum may include (but not be limited to) strategies such as some of the following: • involving students in well structured question and answer sessions in lecture classes • individual think and write exercises, such as the pause technique or one minute papers • pairing activities such as "think, pair, share" • interactive seminars • case studies

There may be some resistance to active learning by students who are accustomed to lectures, students who prefer passive learning, or students in large classes (who don't expect it). Thus, you need to prepare students. Explain your objectives and the benefits of the active learning techniques explicitly to students. Expect both successes and failures as you try active learning techniques. Solicit feedback on the activity afterwards from the students to improve it in the future. Some active learning techniques take little faculty preparation and may be done spontaneously; others require much more preparation. Kathleen McKinney, Cross Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Professor of Sociology Illinois State University