Active learning is when students learn information by participating in the educational content rather than listening only. It can include discussions, group learning, and activities that allow the students to experiment and explore. Active learning promotes teaching strategies that allow students who learn differently to be engaged in the classroom.
One technique for active learning is to allow discussion among the students in a classroom. Most teacher lectures involve the students listening and taking notes. Promoting the students to have open discussion about the educational topic gets them actively asking questions and debating answers. Classroom discussion usually does need to be supervised and allows the students to talk about the topic in detail. This can help some students to retain information better.
Once the teacher has presented new information on a topic, the students can then take turns teaching each other the same material. This is another example of active learning. The students will recall the information by taking on the teacher role. Each student may present the information in different ways, which may help the lesson sink in better.
Students can also actively learn by getting into groups. Student groups are usually comprised of three to five people. The group can have its own discussion or conduct an experiment based on the educational material. The experiment allows the students to get hands-on learning experience while working with each other.
Experiments are a big part of active learning, as they help the students discover information on their own. Experimenting can involve predictions, group discussions, and learning-by-doing. When a student finds out the answer on his own, it not only helps to learn the topic, but also can improve self-esteem in the classroom.
Games and other activities that get the students out of their seats are more forms of active learning. Many educational games can involve index cards, art supplies, or props. These physical items can help some students learn the educational facts and retain them visually for later use. Allowing students to get out of their seats helps them to release some energy while still learning.
With the rise of educational technology, computers have become a great active learning tool. Students can use educational software to write, conduct online experiments, or do research. Students can also have fun playing games that are educational and later discussing what they learned on the computer with the class.