Grand Canyon University: PSY 650
January 27, 2012
In this paper, the idea of active versus passive learning is discussed, as well as the major learning theories of Piaget and Erikson. Furthermore, their major learning theories are compared to each other and applied to the principles of active and passive learning. Because of my teaching and classroom experience, the application of active and passive learning will be applied to childhood development and learning. In addition, the learning theories of Piaget and Erikson, and their similarities and differences in relation to passive and active learning, will be applied to the classroom as well.
Active versus Passive Learning
According to Petress (2008), active and passive learning is often discussed in education journal articles and presented to teachers at in-service meetings. Active learning is the opposite of passive learning just as the active learning student is different from the passive learning student. The passive student is solely dependent on the teacher and what the teacher teaches in the classroom. The active learner depends slightly on the teacher, but takes learning a little further toward individualized, intrinsic learning. They are not overly dependent on a teacher because actively learning makes the student a partner in the process of learning. Teachers are often used as a resource for the active learners… a resource that guides the learning process and motivates further educational learning. Passive learning requires little student involvement or overt work, and it is not self-reinforcing. On the other hand, according to Petress (2008), active learning is self-reinforcing and the student is intrinsically motivated to learn because learning is enjoyable, motivating, and extremely effective in getting tasks done. The difference between the two learners is that information learned passively will not be retained well and is not as effective or enthusiastically applied, whereas information learned actively will be retained better and is more effectively and enthusiastically applied to other areas of learning. Characteristics of Active and Passive Learners
Active learners can frequently be observed performing such behaviors as: asking clarifying questions to stimulate further learning, challenging ideas to increase intellect and social dialogue, following up on learning through personal extensions by applying what is learned, connecting recently learned material with previously learned material, discussing
learned concepts with others, keeping an enthusiastic attitude toward learning, exchanging and sharing views, and keeping an open mind to increase reasoning skills (Drew, 2011).
On the other hand, according to Drew (2011), passive learners can frequently be observed exhibiting behaviors such as: diminished motivation and enthusiasm toward spontaneous learning, minimal transference of what is learned, a stunted retention because learning is not connected, minimal questioning, and infrequent exchanging of views. Classroom Implications
Teachers seem to have an easier and more successful task in dealing with and instructing active learners as opposed to passive learners. This is due in part because active learners realize that the material presented by the teacher or the readings required in the classroom seem to be difficult which prompts the active learner to ask clarifying questions to avoid major difficulties later. Passive learners, on the other hand, often fail to realize the small barriers to learning until they become major ones. Consequently, active learners seek help or tutoring with difficult concepts sooner than the passive learners because the passive learners wait until the barriers are often insurmountable. In the classroom, active learners help teachers by providing relevant examples often adding to the classroom dialogue; whereas passive...