Active Versus Passive Learning

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Most students these days just think they have to go to class, pay attention, write some notes and they will do fine. That may be true for some people but if they were to use a more active learning approach instead of passive, they could do even better. Active learning is a learning approach that gets the student more involved which helps lead to a better understanding and idea of the material being learned (VickyRN, 2009). Passive learning is the common classroom learning approach where you listen to a teacher and read information (VickyRN, 2009). If students were more aware of the benefits of active learning and the difference between active and passive learning, they could achieve higher academic results and may even enjoy it more. Many studies have proven that active learning is a far better learning approach compared to passive learning because it helps students gain a lot more knowledge from what they are learning. There have been a couple techniques we have talked about in class that can help promote active learning including expert learning which also promotes self-regulated learning, as well as working in groups. Therefore, teachers should emphasize more on encouraging their students to use a more active learning approach.

Students should be taught what active learning is and the difference between it and passive learning at a younger age so they are aware and can develop a more active learning style as they go further into their education. In most cases, students have never heard about active learning and go through most of their education with a passive learning approach. If they were taught about it at a young age, it would be highly beneficial in helping them achieve the highest academic result possible. For the people that have never heard of active learning and don't know what it is, Active learning is a learning style that gets the students involved both mentally and physically in what they're learning which is a lot better than passive learning where students just sit in their chairs, take notes and listen to the instructor talk (McManus, 2001). In regards to passive learning, McManus (2001) said "students are assumed to enter the course with minds like empty vessels or sponges to be filled with knowledge" (p. 424). By being involved in what you are learning, it helps improve your ability to remember and understand the content. There have been many experiments and tests that have compared the two to see which is better and active learning is proven by far, to be the better learning approach.

One study proved that in a passive lecture, out of 100 items taught, students would only remember around 10. If you used the same amount of time with an actively learning group, you may only cover 75 things in that time but students would remember approximately 15 things which would be retrieved easier in the future (DeirdreB, 2012). Overall, active learning may take longer but in the end, students are able to remember more and have a better understanding of the content (DeirdreB, 2012). Another study tested to see if students who learned with an active approach would be more motivated to learn and would learn more than students who learned with a passive approach. A group was to learn actively by studying material and being expected to teach it to another student where as the group that was to learn passively just studied it and was tested on it. The results showed that the students who were expected to teach the material, were more motivated and scored higher than those who were just tested on it (Benware & Deci, 2010). The two groups were equal in size, had the same material and were given the same amount of time (Benware & Deci, 2010). There have been many studies have proved that active learning is a more beneficial learning approach and therefore should be taught to students earlier on in their education. There have been a few techniques we have learned about in class that can help a student learn more...
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