Tips on active learning


Active learning is acquiring momentum now a days. Foreign education institutions are now giving more thrust to active learning methodologies. Although this module has been developed based on lectures and power point presentations, experience demonstrates that more active learning takes place through discussions, practice and demonstrations and student to student teaching. Studies have shown that average maximum attention span for attending a presentation is around 20 minutes. This is why we encourage you to keep lectures to a maximum of 30 minutes, allowing more time for active learning.

  • Students are often faced with a disconnect between theory and practice, in other words, practical application of theoretical knowledge creates a knowledge gap that may only promote superficial learning. To avoid this disconnect, it is often better to start with case studies first and explain theory after.
  • Dale’s Cone of Experience demonstrates the effectiveness of different media on the learning experience, with the least effective (verbal symbols) at the top of the cone and most effective (direct, purposeful experience) at the bottom (see diagram below).

A second illustration that may help to consider the methods used in sharing knowledge is the Learning Pyramid (below) which charts the % retention rates by information delivery:
Lecture = 5%
Reading = 10%
Audiovisual = 20%
Demonstration = 30%
Discussion Group = 50%
Practice by doing = 75%
Teach others/ immediate use of learning = 90%



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