Active Learning in Online Classes

by / Tuesday, 07 May 2019 / Published in Adult Learning, Collaborate Ultra, Teaching with Technology

Active learning comes out of the constructivist learning theory that we learn better through building our own knowledge and connecting new ideas to existing knowledge and experiences to form understanding.

This model starts to take on greater importance when we consider an online learning environment which for the presenter can be far more challenging than a face-to-face class and so there is the temptation to resort to safety in a lecture-type online class.

While it is certainly more challenging to have active learning elements in online classes, it is  worth it in terms of student engagement and retention of knowledge.

In 2014, Freeman and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 225 studies comparing lecture-like classes with classes that had some form of active learning. In short, they found that students in lecture situations were 1.5 times more likely to fail a course than students in courses with active learning.

The video below from Tesia Marshik where she debunks the idea of learning styles gives some good examples of how finding meaning from new material by making connections is so important and in the next blog entry, Raghad will look at the features available in online presentation platforms that cater for active learning.

Freeman, S., Eddy, S.L., McDonough, M., Smith, M.K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., and Wenderoth, M.P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111, 8410-8415.



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