What is active learning? Active learning is an approach to instruction that involves actively engaging students with the course material through discussions, problem solving, case studies, role plays and other methods such as hands-on activities, and/or the process of investigation, discovery, and interpretation. Adding active learning to your online course content can effectively promote deeper thinking about the material at hand.

Why is active learning important?

It is essential to provide online learning activities that the learners can actually engage with because unlike the traditional classroom set-up where everything is built around complicated lectures; online learning promotes problem solving and creative thinking.

The key to creating a successful online classroom is to create course material that resembles real-life situations. In the online classroom, authenticity is of vital importance – including all tasks, data, materials, and structure.

Active learning is essential because it includes instructions and resources in the course itself, and students can work inside the online course and apply what they’ve learned out in the real world.

Now that you know why active learning is important, let’s have a look at the key characteristics of active learning:

  • Active learning includes problem solving questions which are open to multiple interpretations, rather than having a distinctive “right or wrong” answer.
  • Students can examine their tasks from different perspectives, using a variety of resources.
  • Active learning promotes greater comprehension, knowledge and memory.
  • Active learning encourages collaboration, rather than isolation.
  • Students can reflect on their learning both individually, and socially.
  • Activities encourage interdisciplinary perspectives and enable students to play diverse roles thus building robust expertise rather than knowledge limited to a single well-defined field or domain.
  • Student motivation is increased.
  • Active learning should have real world relevance.

In an active learning approach, learning is not only about the content, but is also about the process. Active learning develops students’ autonomy and their ability to learn. Active learning gives students greater involvement and control over their learning. This means that students are better able to continue learning once they have left school and college.  Including active learning activities into your online course material gives you the opportunity to see how your students think and learn. It gives you the opportunity to identify areas where further explanation or clarity is needed, provide real-time feedback, and enrich the overall quality of learning for your students.

The online classroom allows you to apply active learning more effectively than in the traditional lecture halls. If you would like to include active learning activities into your online course material, contact us today to find out how and we will gladly assist.