Active Learning

What is active learning and what are the benefits?

Adam Steele

How can you introduce active learning into your classroom? In this article, we explore the benefits of this teaching and learning style, as well as how to apply it to your teaching.

Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.

John Dewey, Researcher of Education

What does it look like?

It would be easy to imagine ‘active learning’ is about introducing physical activities into the classroom; however, it’s a method that makes the brain active, not the person.

Active learning is a classroom approach that focuses on how the students learn, not just what they learn. This approach ensures they are actively engaged in learning and encourages more complex thought processes. Opportunities provided by you, their teachers, such as enquiry-led tasks and open-ended questions, challenge the students and supports them to build knowledge and their own understanding. This assists them to become responsible for their own learning and more motivated to achieve.

What are the benefits?

One of the biggest benefits of active learning is the it keeps the student engaged. They interact with a topic by working on activities that help reinforce knowledge, concept and skill.

Through memorable learning experiences, students move from short-term retention and achieve deeper levels of understanding. They develop skills such as critical thinking, collaborative working and problem solving that are important in school, university and future careers.

“Active learning is certainly the way forward; it allows my EAL students the confidence to discuss with their peers without the fear of being wrong. It also allows for students to work at their preferred pace and stimulates conversations, which in turn strengthens their English Language.”

Tracy, science teacher in the UAE, member of The Cambridge Panel

If you want to know more about active learning, check out our education podcast or our blog post on making active learning work in your classroom.