Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Importance of Active Learning


What is the best way for kids to study?
  • highlight the material
  • underline key concepts
  • explain key concepts of the text to yourself
What is the best way for students to review for a test?
  • underline or circle key ideas in the text
  • review important elements of the lecture in an audio format
  • take an informal quiz on the material
In both instances, the answer is the one that requires students to get actively involved in the material like explaining key concepts to yourself and taking a quiz. 

That's what a lot of research suggests. It's also the subject of an excellent essay by NPR's lead education blogger, Anya Kamenetz.  You can also take the quiz to see how well you understand active learning.

Most people, according to surveys, don't understand the importance of active learning. Over 90% think that simply rereading the material is "highly effective."

I bet that many of our students do not realize the importance of active involvement with their reading and test preparation.  Most simply highlight the material or underline key concepts.

But these students might increase their performance if they work with the material in an active way, like taking an informal quiz on the chapter, or making a crossword puzzle with the chapter's vocabulary.

Another finding, Kamenetz notes, is that spacing study over time is much more effective than cramming the night before a test.