Sponsored Program Low Tech Approach to Learning While technology undoubtedly has changed education, many educators opt to use a more traditional, low tech approach to learning. Some learning styles require a physical presence and interaction between the educator and the student. Additionally, some research has shown that low-tech classrooms may boost learning.
In their seminal work Active Learning: This definition is broad, and Bonwell and Eison explicitly recognize that a range of activities can fall within it.
They suggest a spectrum of activities to promote active learning, ranging from very simple e. Their definition also notes the frequent link between active learning and working in groups.
Thus active learning is commonly defined as activities that students do to construct knowledge and understanding. The activities vary but require students to do higher order thinking.
Constructivist learning theory emphasizes that individuals learn through building their own knowledge, connecting new ideas and experiences to existing knowledge and experiences to form new or enhanced understanding Bransford et al.
The theory, developed by Piaget and others, posits that learners can either assimilate new information into an existing framework, or can modify that framework to accommodate new information that contradicts prior understanding.
Approaches that promote active learning often explicitly ask students to make connections between new information and their current mental models, extending their understanding. In other cases, teachers may design learning activities that allow students to confront misconceptions, helping students reconstruct their mental models based on more accurate understanding.
In either case, approaches that promote active learning promote the kind of cognitive work identified as necessary for learning by constructivist learning theory.
Active learning approaches also often embrace the use of cooperative learning groups, a constructivist-based practice that places particular emphasis on the contribution that social interaction can make. Is there evidence that it works? Here, we will focus on two reports that review and analyze multiple active learning studies.
They included studies that examined the design of class sessions as opposed to out-of-class work or laboratories with at least some active learning versus traditional lecturing, comparing failure rates and student scores on examinations, concept inventories, or other assessments.
They found that students in traditional lectures were 1. Further, they found that on average, student performance on exams, concept inventories, or other assessments increased by about half a standard deviation when some active learning was included in course design weighted standardized mean difference of 0.
These results were consistent across disciplines: They performed two analyses examining the possibility that the results were due to a publication bias i. In one such review, Ruiz-Primo and colleagues examined published studies examining the effects of active learning approaches in undergraduate biology, chemistry, engineering and physics courses Ruiz-Primo et al.
They identified studies that reported an effect size when comparing the effects of an innovation i. First, the authors coded the active learning activities as conceptually oriented tasks, collaborative learning activities, technology-enabled activities, inquiry-based projects, or some combination of those four categories, and important differences existed within the categories for example, technology-assisted inquiry-based projects on average did not produce positive effects.
Finally, many of the studies did not control for pre-existing knowledge and abilities in the treatment groups.The evidence that active learning approaches help students learn more effectively than transmissionist approaches in which instructors rely on “teaching by telling” is robust and stretches back more than thirty years (see, for example, Bonwell and Eison, ).
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