Since the coronavirus outbreak, virtual classes, social distancing and virtual businesses have become the new normal in 2021! With that being said, a lot of people struggle to either avail or provide active learning via online channels such as Zoom, MS Teams, Cisco WebEx etc.
Needless to say, interactive form of communication was way easier when presented in person as compared to virtual means. However, people do need to adapt to the new techniques in order to encourage online active learning.
Say, you have taught students in person all your life, but now due to COVID-19, you have to deliver an engaging and active session online. How would you effectively interact on platforms such as Zoom, and why is it essential to adapt?
This blog explains what active learning is and the different ways to do it.
What is Active learning?
Active learning is an approach that engages students, a method that requires students to actively participate in their learning by discussing, thinking, asking questions, and exploring new concepts in a group, etc.
Its focus is on "how well students learn," and not on "what they learn." Students are encouraged to think hard and interact with the instructor rather than passively receiving information from the teacher. According to research, it is not possible to gain complete understanding only by listening. Instead, teachers need to challenge their students' thinking.
For instance, kids these days who receive active learning in their early years tend to be more creative and step out of their comfort zone. Moreover, they develop excellent retention and problem-solving skills with improved critical thinking. Thus, proving active learning to be an effective tool in teaching.
How Does Active Learning Work?
Virtual Brainstorming Sessions:
Some of the most incredible ideas come from group brainstorming sessions. Since online lectures do not have an option to meet up in a cafe or physical classroom, here, as an instructor, you have to bring the brainstorming to the students.
Some of the ideal platforms for virtual brainstorming are social media groups, online project management, eLearning forums, or the comments section of a video (Say a video uploaded on YouTube or your LMS). These give your online learners a list of topics and leave them on their own.
It is important to set some rules and define expectations.
For instance: Make a group, choose one leader and ask him/her to moderate the online discussion and ask each group member to share at least one idea. That way, everyone gets the chance to participate.
Virtual Branching Scenarios:
Branching sessions will allow online learners to apply their knowledge practically. For instance, instead of only teaching students about what challenges online businesses face, ask your students to interact with various virtual businesses and come up with challenges and possible solutions.; This will help them gain practical experience.
Thanks to advanced technology, there is a variety of video conferencing tools to choose from; for example, Zoom, MS Teams, Cisco WebEx. Online learners can participate in video conferencing debates where they can put across their perspectives.
For instance: Assign students a topic and encourage them to share their perspectives and defend their position. However, if live debates aren't an option, ask students to upload their video sharing responses or ask students to have a debate in the comment section.
Moreover, you can also upload recorded lectures on LMS, YouTube, or any video platform (VIDIZMO is one such platform).
Learning by Teaching:
This term means giving students the opportunity to prepare and teach the lessons (or part of them), to their fellow students. Learning by teaching does not mean students giving a presentation. Instead, students are required to engage with their fellow pupils while being facilitated by their instructor. Media used for this approach usually are webinars and online discussion boards.
Two - Minutes Explanation:
After completing a lesson, ask students to explain their understandings in two- minutes; during these minutes' fellow students can cross-question.
This way, as an instructor, you will know what students have learned, and if they have not got any point correct, you can rectify them at that very moment.
Other than the above-mentioned ways, you can ask questions, take quizzes, assignments, projects, etc.
Frequently Asked Queries
How Does Active Learning help students?
Through active learning, students' engaging in activities such as debates, quizzes, discussions, etc., helps them in skill development, promotes higher thinking such as critical thinking, analysis, etc., their problem-solving skills are developed too.
Moreover, students who effectively participate in active learning are more confident, can put their perspective clearly, and understand better than those who only listen.
What is active learning and its purpose?
Active learning is a process in which teachers or instructors are supposed to encourage students to participate actively and interact during lessons rather than listening only. Active learning boosts learners to present their thoughts in words, put forward clear views, and enhance collaborative skills.
The core focus is that students should have to do more rather than only listening. Moreover, it is a powerful approach that benefits students on many levels, such as develops analytical skills, confidence, communication skill, etc.
What is an example of active learning?
In active learning, instructors are facilitators. Below are a few of the examples.
- Discussion: A successful discussion depends on framing questions correctly. Discussion helps students to have a better understanding of the lesson rather than simply listening to it.
- Think-Per Share: Assign students a topic and ask them to work individually and think about a possible answer. Then ask them to compare those answers with your partner, and pair a joint solution. And ask every pair to answer the problem. This method will also help the quiet ones to come out of their comfort zone.
Other active learning examples include, role-playing, quizzes, brainstorming, etc.
What are the advantages of active learning?
1. Active Learning Reduces Achievement Gaps: Achievement gaps occur when a group of students (grouped by ethnicity, income, race, color, etc.) outshine another group and that difference is quite significant. According to an academic research, active learning reduced the achievement gap by 33% among 9,238 students.
2. It Encourages Risk-Taking: Students mostly resist taking part in active learning. After all, it's easier to sit in class and nod your head and write down whatever the instructor explains. Active learning pulls out students from their comfort zone by encouraging them to share their thoughts, ask questions, share ideas with group mates or to everyone. This will help them get confidence and self-possession.
3. Increases Engagement: Active learning increases students' engagement through several ways (such as discussions, role-play, group presentations, etc.)
4. Improves Critical Thinking: Active learning enhances an individual's critical thinking; he/she starts to engage themselves with sources and perspectives rather than believing everything they listen to. And when students share their ideas and perspectives, they learn to build stronger arguments and learn to accept different perspectives.
Other advantages include, increases creative thinking, problem-solving skills, develops collaborative skills, etc.
VIDIZMO – Video Hosting and Management Solutions to Promote Active Learning Virtually
VIDIZMO offers a comprehensive virtual academy solution that offers real-time and self-paced virtual classroom. Also, to have interactive learning sessions, VIDIZMO allows its users to insert quizzes, surveys, Q&A, handouts, etc., in live or on-demand videos. You can also measure performance and monitor engagement.