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Active Learning Strategies is a term used to describe teaching and learning strategies. The strategy puts learners in charge of their learning through meaningful activities. The strategy helps to promote active participation among learners in their knowledge acquisition process.
Learning is not sitting and watching; it involves active participation and understanding. Nowadays, the conventional learning strategy is becoming boring and obsolete. Teachers are looking for ways to incorporate active learning strategies into their plans. The endpoint of teaching is learning and grasping whatever has been taught. The teacher has wasted his/her time if the learners have not gotten anything.
Teaching differs with individuals. Some people have the gift to teach and carry the learners along with every detail of what they are teaching. Some others make learning harder than it is. Teaching is a gift.
That’s why there is a need for an active learning strategy. What will engage learners and aid their learning? What will put their cognitive abilities into action? Active learning strategy engages learners in learning using reading, writing, conversation, and problem-solving.
In the conventional learning strategy, learners are passive recipients of knowledge. Active learning strategy is a contrast to conventional learning strategy. Active learning strategy can be implemented in any discipline or field. It is a wide range of techniques targeted at making learners active. It might involve students working together or individually. This learning strategy starts from the simplest to the complex tasks.
The conventional learning strategy is common for some sets of students to be the most active. But using an active learning strategy, all learners will be actively involved by thinking and engaging with their course materials. It allows the learners to learn, acquire skills, practice the skills, and solve problems.
Employing an active learning strategy doesn’t mean abandoning the normal lecture format. It means adding some tips that will aid learning and assimilation. It also helps to highlight the knowledge gap between what the learners ought to have known and what they know. With the combination of learning and practices, concepts are well understood by learners.
Active Learning Strategies
The learners take the role of the teacher to create their questions about a topic.
This encourages the learners to quiz one another. The learners will listen carefully and take down important notes.
This is asking the learners to write about the most unclear part of an assignment or classwork.
This involves asking two or three individuals to oppose a strong and existing fact during a class.
Learners in this strategy instruct and teach concepts.
This involves learners playing educative games that can aid their learning.
7. Rotating chair group discussions
Roles at being rotated in this strategy. Speakers are chosen randomly which will make everyone an active participant.
Importance of active learning strategy
Before teaching starts, there are objectives set for the learners. These are things expected of the learners and that is acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills. Active learning strategy helps to achieve those learning objectives.
This is a point with evidence. It is one of the major importance of using active learning strategy. Not all learners will be involved in class activities when using the conventional learning strategy. Active learning strategy carries all the learners along. The dullest among the learners improves when engaged with activities involved in active learning strategy. The learners do not just learn to know the concept alone. They learn and then apply the knowledge to unravel problems.
It helps to improve critical thinking. Learners don’t just accept validities just because they were told. They accept those facts because they have learned and can apply the concept. When presented with problems, learners think deeply about how to solve the problem.
Knowledge retention is easy when what is learned is being discussed and practiced. It is not easy to forget things that were taught, implemented, and used to solve problems. Learners can remember what they did by themselves in addition to what they were taught.
Active learning strategy aids skills learning. When learners are engaged in the learning process, they can easily learn new skills. The more they are exposed to the practical aspects of learning, skill acquisition becomes easy. Oral skills, leadership skills, management skills, writing skills, organization skills, and many more.
Learners can come up with problem-solving solutions. Active learning strategy doesn’t make the learners recipients of the knowledge of the concept only. It allows them to think and come up with solutions to problems. They can develop some solid products in the process.
This often happens in idea pitching events. It can also be implemented into our teaching plans. Learners can come together as a group to think about how to solve a problem. When groups present their ideas, other groups can learn diverse ways of solving similar problems given to them.
Active learning strategy motivates learners to do more. It’s natural for us to be motivated when we solve problems. We become more confident and want to do more.
Research has shown that learners become more enthusiastic when actively involved in their learning process. Tasks in active learning strategy range from simple to complex with adequate information. It gets boring when all the learners do is listen and solve questions. Employing an active learning strategy will make the students active participants.
Active learning strategy allows feedback. This helps to check whether the learners understood the concept, the minor and major problems they faced, and how soon were they able to get the problem solved. Feedbacks helps to access the learners’ perspective on the concept taught.
Challenges that affect active learning strategy
Active learning strategy can be affected when learners are reluctant to engage in the learning activities. It tends to frustrate the scope of learning. This challenge can be caused by some reasons which include a hectic schedule on the part of the learners, wrong presentation of the concept, unclear instructions, etc. It can be resisted by tackling the reasons listed above. The learners should be aware of the concept earlier enough to prepare their minds.
Another factor affecting active learning strategy is the lack of teamwork by the learners. Active learning strategy involves discussion, teamwork, and collective effort. When there is no cooperation among learners, an active learning strategy is hard to execute.
Learners become frustrated when activities are taking too much time. This happens especially when results are not forthcoming. Learners’ enthusiasm reduces when they are spending too much time on a concept. They want to leave it and move on quickly.
This strategy involves planning. Inadequate planning will make the strategy ineffective. Planning your classes and topics properly. The tasks should go from the simplest to the complex. The reading, discussing, practical and solving problems should be planned and integrated into those classes.
At some point in the learning process, it might be required to perform practical. If there are inadequate resources, it will hamper the strategy. The learning will not progress. In case necessary facilities such as some lap equipment are not in place, it will be difficult to move forward with the learning.
Another factor that can affect this strategy is the lack of proper guidance and information needed. This can happen if the facilitator or teacher is not good enough. The learners will lack important information.
How to implement an active learning strategy
Choosing a good topic is the first step. This topic must be a meaningful one to the sect of learners you have. The topic shouldn’t be too advanced above their level and it shouldn’t be too simple below their level. It should be within their capacity.
The introduction is an important part of your topic. It sets the foundation of the concept you are teaching. You can creatively build a foundation for your topic in the introduction either by asking questions or explanations.
Based on the learners’ response to the introduction, set up activities that will aid their learning.
After setting up activities needed for the concept, pick a problem to be solved by the learners. This is to show at the end of the class what they have learned so far.
You can group the learners when necessary. They can brainstorm among themselves to find solutions to tasks. In a complex problem, you should group your students. When grouping, it is also important that you mix the most brilliant with the less brilliant ones.
Monitoring the tasks given to the learners will help you keep them in check. You can correct them in the process if they are making mistakes.
When the specified time for the tasks has been completed, wrap up all activities. You can bring them to do solution pitching. Each group comes out and tells the rest of the students how they started and what they learned.
Compile all matter arising from each group at the end of the discussion. In other to refine some activities, you need feedback from the learners.