On active learning : 460 words 3090 characters.
The great paradox of Indian education is that it has produced some outstanding persons who have been great achievers and some of them also acknowledged with the Nobel Prize in a wide range of fields. But there are millions of people emerging from the same education system that could very well comprise “the useless class” identified by Yuval Noah Harari ( https://youtu.be/OMDlfNWM1fA).
One explanation of this anomaly is the age-old saying, ‘Winners don’t do different things. They do things differently,’ made famous by Shiv Khera in his book You Can Win. Those who like to differ from this view insist that winners don’t merely do the same things differently, they do different things.
I am suggesting here an important element that distinguishes the successful, the outliers or the winners from the rest. And that is active learning. You may philosophise on whether active learning is a different way of learning or something completely different. Did IITs teach engineering differently, or did they teach a different thing called Technology?
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. Active learning approaches place a greater degree of responsibility on the learner than passive approaches such as lectures, but instructor guidance is still crucial in the active learning classroom.
An active learning session may be seen to comprise the following 7 stages:
1: Advance Reading :
2: Initial question or challenge:
4: Discussion among peers:
5 and 6: Revote and show results:
You may be inclined to compare this with the well known Gagne’s 9 events of instruction: https://www.niu.edu/citl/resources/guides/instructional-guide/gagnes-nine-events-of-instruction.shtml
1: Gain attention of the students
2: Inform students of the objectives
3: Stimulate recall of prior learning
4: Present the content
5: Provide learning guidance
6: Elicit performance
7: Provide feedback
8: Assess performance
9: Enhance retention and transfer
Suitably combining the 7 steps of active learning with Gagné’s nine events of instruction can help you build a suitable learning model that can then be adapted to fit both the content and students’ level of knowledge.
One of the proponents of active learning is Carl Weiman, the 2001 Physics Nobel Laureate who is also a Professor in Education in Stanford University, who actively opposes the lecture model. Here are a few relevant links.
1: Carl Weiman and active learning : https://mediatheque.lindau-nobel.org/recordings/38480/dont-lecture-me
2: Don’t lecture me : https://www.nature.com/articles/d42473-019-00339-6
3: Carl Weiman on new ways of teaching Science and engineering (58 minutes): https://youtu.be/9A13RWOs6oA
4: The active learning method (7 minutes): https://youtu.be/xxVxgQJwV7w
Happy Learning !