What is active learning?
This teaching methodology emphasises higher-order thinking and regularly involves group or collaborative working, as opposed to students passively listening to their teacher. Active learning invites students to participate in various interactive activities and discussions, thus improving students’ attention and interest in the learning process.
Active learning benefits
There are numerous benefits of using the active learning approach:
- It helps students to develop collaborative skills and interact with each other constructively to discuss learning content and problem solving.
- It increases engagement and encourages students to participate and contribute during class sessions.
- It improves students’ ability to use critical thinking and sparks creative thinking.
- It increases retention of the learned content and motivates students to be part of the learning process for themselves.
Passive learning: why it doesn't workThis outdated model of teaching is based on students memorising as much information as possible, rather than developing crucial learning skills, or interacting as a community of learners. Atypically, a teacher lectures, students listen and try to absorb as much knowledge as they can. Unfortunately, learners only retain 5% of what they are taught during a lecture.
Active learning technology: tools and best practices
So what kind of educational purposes can active learning technology be used for? Large enrolment courses, hybrid courses and online courses are ideal for active learning technology tools. However, it is vital to identify the right technology based on your teaching needs and the students’ needs as well.
Active learning technology tools
The main goal of active learning is to get students to interact and learn together. This can be achieved by using a variety of active learning technology tools:
- A video platform can be used to communicate and deliver content, leading to student discussion. Discover how to make video lectures.
- Students can brainstorm using Miro or MindMap.
- They can organise their work with Trello and Google Sheets.
- Students can also collaborate to create and present using Canva, Google Slides and PowerPoint.
All these and more can be used to empower and encourage students to collaborate constructively and positively with each other.
An essential aspect of education is getting students to question and challenge ideas to further expand their understanding of the learning content. To help students do this, they can research and retrieve information from Google Scholar, ResearchGate or a university library.
It is one thing to learn something, very much another to retain it. Promoting learner’s memory anchoring is the goal of integrative learning. According to this approach - deeply linked to the “learning by doing” methodology - by making connections with their experiences, students will better retain the content. Hence the importance for students and teachers to share experiences. To do so, they can use virtual classroom tools, for example: Glowbl, Big Blue Button, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. They can also testify via video using Nudgis by UbiCast. And if you’d like to give immersive learning a go, try Uptale!
Problem solving is an effective collaborative task for students. The teacher can get students to work together by determining a problem which they must solve together. To collaborate, students can use Miro and present content on video using Nudgis by UbiCast.
Who says learning can’t be fun? Gamification using tools such as Wooclap and Kahoot to create quizzes or word cloud features with Mentimeter are fun ways to teach and learn content. To promote knowledge retention, Magma Learning is the way to go.
How does technology help active learning?
We have selected for you the best active learning practices in order to actively engage the students and offer them the best learning experience.
Preparing students using active learning technology
Teachers can help students get one step ahead by sharing video recordings and quizzes to prepare for their next class. An online forum can also be opened so any misunderstandings or questions can be taken into consideration, and the teacher can make any necessary adjustments before the next class.
The interaction between students and teacher prior to the scheduled class ensures all participants are actively prepared before the lecture even begins.
Active technology in the classroom
Teachers can extend their use of technology in the classroom by giving a course that is video recorded and broadcasting it live online. Social learning tools such as forums, quizzes and flagging can also be made available to students. Online classes are a great advantage for remote students who can not only take the course, but also actively participate with their classmates. For in-class students, it allows everyone to study at their own pace, especially shy students who aren’t always enthusiastic contributors.
Following-up active learning technology after class
Even after the lesson has ended, students can access a video of their lesson online to check their understanding of the learned content. The teacher can study statistics based on student participation and offer a follow-up class to its students.
Technology is a true asset to set up active learning courses, and a great way to boost interactivity and participation in a classroom, may it be virtual or not. It’s important to choose an active learning technology tool according to the required learning objectives. With pedagogy and the way students learn constantly evolving, active learning technology is increasingly both in and outside the classroom, and is ideal for blended learning experience. Keep in mind the benefits of active learning technology and take your students’ learning to the next level now!