Active Learning

Active learning is a teaching method that strives to more directly involve students in the learning process.The term active learning was introduced by the English scholar R W Revans . Bonwell states that in active learning, students participate in the process and students participate when they are doing something besides passively listening. Active learning is “a method of learning in which students are actively or experientially involved in the learning process and where there are different levels of active learning, depending on student involvement.” (Weltman, p. 8) It is a model of instruction that focuses the responsibility of learning on learners. It was popularized in the 1990s by its appearance on the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) report (Bonwell & Eison 1991). In this report they discuss a variety of methodologies for promoting “active learning”. They cite literature that indicates that to learn, students must do more than just listen: They must read, write, discuss, or be engaged in solving problems. It relates to the three learning domains referred to as knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA), and that this taxonomy of learning behaviours can be thought of as “the goals of the learning process” (Bloom, 1956). In particular, students must engage in such higher-order thinking tasks as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Active learning engages students in two aspects – doing things and thinking about the things they are doing (Bonwell and Eison, 1991).


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