Active learning is an instructional approach that emphasizes students’ active engagement with the subject matter, encouraging them to participate in class discussions, ask questions, and collaborate with their peers. This approach has been shown to improve students’ retention of information, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. In this article, we will discuss some of the best active learning techniques in teaching and provide scientific evidence to support their effectiveness.
Think-Pair-Share is a simple yet effective active learning technique that promotes collaborative learning and critical thinking. The process involves three stages: first, the students are asked to think about a question or problem individually. Next, they are paired up with a classmate and discuss their ideas. Finally, the pairs share their thoughts with the class as a whole.
Studies have shown that Think-Pair-Share can improve students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as increase their engagement and participation in class discussions (1,2). This technique can also help students retain information better, as they are actively processing and discussing the material.
- Flipped Classroom:
The flipped classroom is a teaching model in which students learn the course material outside of class, typically through online videos or readings, and then come to class to apply what they’ve learned through activities, discussions, and projects.
Research has shown that the flipped classroom can lead to improved student engagement and academic performance (3). Additionally, the flipped classroom model can allow for more personalized learning experiences, as students can progress at their own pace and receive individualized feedback from the instructor.
- Peer Instruction:
Peer instruction is a teaching technique that involves breaking students into small groups and having them discuss and solve problems together. The instructor provides guidance and support but allows the students to take the lead in their own learning.
Studies have shown that peer instruction can lead to improved student engagement, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills (4). Additionally, peer instruction can help students retain information better, as they are actively engaged in the learning process.
- Case-Based Learning:
Case-based learning is a teaching technique that involves presenting students with real-world problems or scenarios and having them apply course material to solve the problem. This approach allows students to see the practical applications of the material and can help them retain the information better.
Research has shown that case-based learning can lead to improved critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and retention of information (5). Additionally, case-based learning can improve student motivation and engagement by making the material more relevant and interesting.
- Collaborative Learning:
Collaborative learning is an active learning technique that involves students working together in small groups to complete assignments or projects. This approach can improve students’ teamwork and communication skills, as well as increase their engagement and participation in class discussions.
Studies have shown that collaborative learning can lead to improved critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and academic performance (6). Additionally, collaborative learning can help students develop a sense of community and belonging in the classroom, which can improve their motivation and engagement.
Active learning techniques can improve students’ critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and retention of information. The Think-Pair-Share, Flipped Classroom, Peer Instruction, Case-Based Learning, and Collaborative Learning are some of the best active learning techniques in teaching that can promote active engagement, participation, and collaboration among students. These approaches can improve students’ academic performance and motivation and make learning more meaningful and enjoyable.
- Cooper, M. M. (2006). “A Taxonomy of Learning Through Reflection.” College Teaching, 54(2), 55-59
- Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day. International Society for Technology in Education.
- Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, E. (2001). “Peer Instruction: Ten Years of Experience and Results.” American Journal of Physics, 69(9), 970-977.
- Thistlethwaite, J. E., Davies, D., Ekeocha, S., Kidd, J. M., MacDougall, C., Matthews, P., & Purkis, J. (2012). “The Effectiveness of Case-Based Learning in Health Professional Education. A BEME Systematic Review: BEME Guide No. 23.” Medical Teacher, 34(6), e421-e444.
- Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1989). “Cooperative Learning: The Effects of Heterogeneous and Homogeneous Grouping on Student Achievement.” American Educational Research Journal, 26(4), 631-651.