Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Timothy G. Thomas
Active learning is an educational approach in which teachers ask students to apply classroom content during instructional activities and to reflect on the actions they have taken. Teachers who employ active learning approaches can have students solve problems, work as part of a team, provide feedback to classmates, or peer-teach as ways to put new content to work. Active learning requires students to operate at high cognitive levels, to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate during instructional tasks. This entry looks at how active learning works and what research says about its outcomes, as well as some criticisms and challenges. When students take notes quietly during a lecture, they are operating as passive learners. Lectures invite student passivity, and research shows that passive students learn less. Lectures are teacher-centered activities that require only the instructor to process the academic content. Active learning approaches, on the other hand, are student centered, requiring students ...