Importance of active learning for science

Importance of active learning for science

Traditional learning is based on reciting or reading prepared scripts formulated to meet the class program. In contrast, active learning provides an environment for interaction with students. It’s a set of instructions and practices created with the special purpose to engage students with the learning process. Proper class implementation should change many parts of this process. Roles and the outcome too.

Active learning is a technique enabling lecturers to become instructors. Their first task is to guide and instigate students’ curiosity. Secondly, the thinking process should be initiated through various activities, situations, and role-playing. This type of student-oriented education aims to achieve learning goals with less lecture time. Other benefits are more mutual collaboration and individual exploration. So far, active learning experts proved, without a doubt, that this type of learning improves students’ attitudes. Also, it helps better understanding, critical thinking, and improves writing skills.

Why do students need to know more about active learning

Science studies gained a bad reputation and are known as hard to learn. Teaching material is full of information and dull academic writing with long sentences full of acronyms. These are the main reasons why students need and want to try Edubirdie, as it provides professional help. This help is valuable for both learning and writing scientific papers and dissertations. During exam terms, this is valuable support because it allows reducing the number of reading pages. Furthermore, it can simplify comprehending and executing complex tasks.

Students tend to find science subjects intimidating, and abstract. Unfortunately for a good reason. In 2011 the University of Harvard published research on active learning. The goal was to get an insight into its benefits for science students. The main point of the research was to show how active learning techniques can simplify the learning process. Besides this, this type of teaching can be a new base for modern science education.

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The author of this research, Director of science teaching and learning Louis Deslauriers compared students’ learning perception. He determined the obvious differences between receiving passive lectures and active instructions. Final research results revealed unexpected general perceptions. Students had an impression that they’ve learned more through traditional lecturing. Experienced lecturers are the reason for this phenomenon. They can create a false impression that the learning process is more successful than it is.

The impact of active learning on students’ performance in science

According to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the number of STEM bachelors is insufficient. Their recommendation was to use empirical teaching. These and similar practices can be a possible solution to this problem. Analyzed studies showed that active learning can increase students’ exam performances. Another benefit is a significant average grade rising.

The following active learning benefits gave the best results for science students.

●  Increased engagement

Students are more engaged in debating, researching, finding new ideas, and problem-solving. They are also more interested in understanding the teaching material completely.

●  Critical thinking

Students start to question things, search for legible sources and detect shifty arguments. They are also more willing to challenge false presumptions. When debating, they build their arguments wisely and carefully.

●  Creative thinking

For future scientists, creativity is one of the most important skills. It helps develop new things and find unorthodox solutions. This skill is equally valuable for individuals as it is for the members of science teams.

●  Leaving the comfort zone

Active learning encourages students to take new directions of thinking and share these thoughts. Getting out of the comfort zone and taking risks builds confidence and boosts self-esteem.

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Students learned more with active techniques. But, the process seemed hard and demanding in the sense of their investment in it. At the end of the research, students evaluated the amount of effort and the adopted knowledge. The vast majority concluded that active learning wasn’t as successful as traditional one. Yet, final tests gave opposite results. It’s recommended to first change students’ perception to show them the true value of active learning, before actual implementation. With more practical knowledge about active learning, their perception will change. As a result, they’ll become more invested and open to it and eventually find the process to be more efficient than before.

Ayhan Fletcher

"Subtly charming zombie nerd. Infuriatingly humble thinker. Twitter enthusiast. Hardcore web junkie."

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