5 Active Learning Strategies That Work

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I kind of felt I’d said all there was worth saying about active learning strategies when I defined the term not long ago. But, sometimes maybe my judgment on repeating in higher detail, certain things is not as keen as I think, and I gripe too much about inevitable pieces where I must expound. You may recall from last time that active learning is an umbrella term, meaning several different but similar things which the term is meant to express in purity. I don’t think active learning really does the concept the proper implication, but oh well. You know it’s a learning model where students are responsible for handling their own stuff. It’s that simple. Many Active Learning Strategies: Well yes and no. The thing with a concept like this is that a whole bunch of learning models can actually be retooled with a little creativity to accomplish this, because the definition of the term is so simple and pure. I suppose that’s actually part of the charm of the idea. There was a time when this kind of stuff would have been a flight of fancy, before internet, LMS and other technology to support it came along, so even in its simplicity, it’s a revolutionary sign of revolutionary times. Models Based Around It: There do exist a couple models explicitly designed with this sort of thing in mind, and they’re fairly simple to come to terms with. You’re probably best served by adopting one of these than spending so much energy retooling other models. #1 – Flipped Classroom I described this one last time, but I’ll do so again. It sounds like a complete role reversal, but it’s really not. I’m not sure how it got this name … maybe because any other name would have made less sense. We’ll go with that answer. So, what is this? It’s simple to understand, despite how convoluted everyone else’s explanations of it seem to be. Students work together as a group, to learn, discover and solve problems. They are presented with goals, source material and introduction to major new things or major paradigm shifts along the way by teachers. They assign projects, and provide guidance, nudges in the right directions and of course, moral support and a foundation of order and conduct. It’s liberating but controlled. #2 – Self-Directed Learning This one probably should be the term for active learning, but it was taken so what can you do? This is just the same concept without the social aspect mentioned above. Good for giant or really small sets of students, where flipped is best for somewhere in the middle. Ones Easy to Retool: #3 – Gamification This one’s practically built for it, with the focus on agency and self-motivation to succeed. #4 – Constant Learning This one, too, is very much made for this kind of retooling, since it’s a philosophy of never really not being in training. As a matter of fact, I don’t see how this one can be done without being an active model, and be effective and efficient. #5 – Organizational Learning These, too, are actually easy to retool, though if you push them far enough, they become just active learning strategies like flipped classrooms. But, they’re a good base.

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Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog