Active learning is when students participate in class, engage with the material, and collaborate with one another. There are many benefits of active learning. By adopting an active learning mindset, students can learn to process thoughts and analyse arguments better. They can also easily apply theoretical concepts to the situations which they encounter in their daily lives.
As educators, we find it important for students to have a clear understanding of what “active learning” actually means. When students realise how active learning can contribute to their personal development and overall well-being, they would put in more effort and take greater ownership of their learning.
In this article, we will be looking at the benefits of active learning in the classroom. Students can use the information to decide whether active learning is a suitable method for them to maximise their learning experience. But before we dive into the benefits of this learning method, let us give a brief description of what active learning is.
What Is Active Learning?
Active learning is an approach that emphasises the importance of learning through experience. It encourages students to discover facts on their own and use it to solve specific problems they encounter. Active learning also helps students to maintain their concentration and strengthen their higher-level skills such as creativity and critical thinking.
To enjoy the maximum benefit from active learning techniques, students have to keep an open mind and be eager to learn new things. They should also be patient and diligent, as adopting an active learning mindset can take some getting used to. Also, knowing the benefits of active learning can help students change their learning approach and influence their attitude towards education.
Benefits of Active Learning
Students can benefit from active learning in many ways, from building their self-confidence to developing their creativity. By being aware of these benefits, students can better understand how active learning can potentially contribute to their future success.
Here are the benefits of active learning in the classroom:
- Active learning helps students to develop their collaborative skills
- Students will learn to take risks and build self-confidence
- Students will gain motivation as they prepare ahead of time
- Active learning can boost creative thinking skills
- Students can take greater ownership of their learning
- Active learning improves critical thinking and decision-making skills
- Active learning promotes real world problem-solving
1. Active learning helps students to develop their collaborative skills
Active learning involves an immersive participation in group-based activities. When students learn to collaborate and work closer together as a team, it is easier for them to complete their assigned tasks and projects. Working in teams also allows students to gain more insight by bouncing ideas off one another. Group discussions can also broaden perspectives, especially when each individual contributes their knowledge to get everybody closer to a common goal.
2. Students will learn to take risks and build self-confidence
Active learning encourages students to get out of their comfort zone by taking risks. Risk isn’t always a bad thing. It can sometimes lead to surprising rewards. Students are always encouraged to share their thoughts, defend their conclusions, and build on other people’s ideas. They should not be keeping their thoughts to themselves. Speaking up can also help students get their point across, and allow them to gain more self-confidence.
3. Students will gain motivation as they prepare ahead of time
Sometimes, students may find themselves sitting through a class without needing to put in much effort beyond simply showing up. But in an active learning classroom, students are not allowed to just sit back. Students would need to prepare ahead of time, so that they can have a fruitful discussion in class. For example, they can start reading up on the next topic or think of some questions to ask their teacher. As students prepare themselves before class, they start to gain motivation both mentally and physically.
4. Active learning can boost creative thinking skills
Creativity is perhaps one of the most difficult thinking skills which a student can acquire. At the same time, it is also one of the most in-demand skills which potential employers are looking out for. Through active learning, students will understand that they need to put in the effort and hard work to hone their creative thinking skills. Engaging in individual reflection and collaborative exchange on a regular basis can also stretch our thinking abilities. This helps us to come up with better ideas or effective solutions to problems.
5. Students can take greater ownership of their learning
Active learning encourages students to take greater ownership of their learning. When students work together to solve a problem, debate an issue or research a concept, they are more deeply engaged in their learning. They put in more time and effort, sort of a peer effect when everyone around them is doing the same. Students can also help one another along the way, from processing ideas to giving meaningful opinions. On the whole, students will be more actively involved in their own learning experience.
6. Active learning improves critical thinking and decision-making skills
Critical thinking helps us to think outside the box. It helps students to develop their problem-solving abilities and make better judgement and decisions. Students can learn to construct stronger arguments, challenge presumptions and recognise logical flaws. Students who already have good critical thinking skills can always challenge themselves and take things to the next level. Through active learning, their critical thinking will be greatly tested and become even better over time.
7. Active learning promotes real world problem-solving
In an active learning classroom, students can develop effective problem-solving skills. When solving problems, students are taught to first observe, understand, analyse and interpret the situation, before coming up with a number of possible solutions. Based on their understanding of the details and constraints, they shortlist the best solution among the various alternatives. That’s exactly what students will need when they face problems in the real world.
Active learning can benefit students in many different ways. In this article, we have discussed how active learning can positively affect a student’s learning experience. Therefore, we would like to encourage students to step away from the more passive method of rote learning. Instead, students should take a more active approach when it comes to learning.
More importantly, students need to take the initiative to participate actively in the classroom, and be fully hands-on in their learning. They need to collaborate, hone their skills and acquire new ones. Becoming a more active learner may take some time and effort initially. But when you look back a few years down the road, you would definitely find it worthwhile.