How Active Learning Influences Higher Thinking Skills

Do you want to set your students up for long-term success? If so, it’s time to reconsider the way you teach them.

Read on to learn more about the advantages of active learning. You’ll also see some examples of what it can look like for students studying at home or in the classroom.

What Is Active Learning?

Active learning goes by many different names. You might also hear it referred to as problem-based learning, student-centered learning, or kinesthetic learning.

No matter what you call it, though, at its core, this type of learning is all about getting students actively engaged in the learning process.

Think about a typical classroom experience. In many cases, students are expected to sit quietly at their desks for hours at a time while their teachers stand at the front and lecture. They’re passive recipients rather than active participants.

Benefits of Active Learning

There are plenty of reasons to incorporate active learning into a student’s day, whether they’re learning at home or at school. Here are some of the greatest advantages this type of learning has to offer:

Improved Higher Thinking Skills

One of the greatest advantages of implementing active learning strategies is the fact that this approach can lead to improved higher thinking skills. When students are encouraged to take an active role in their education, they often become better critical thinkers.

Active learners spend more time hearing how their peers view a particular topic, and this can encourage them to ask more questions and look at the subject from a different perspective. All of this contributes to students to become more well-rounded thinkers.

Increased Engagement

When they have the opportunity to practice active learning, rates of student engagement tend to increase.

In a traditional classroom setup, where students are told to sit quietly and listen, it’s easy for their minds to wander and for them to present but not really there. On the flip side, when you encourage active learning, students have to be more engaged, as it will be obvious when they’re not paying attention or contributing.

Improved Collaboration

Active learning activities provide students with more opportunities to collaborate with their peers. They have to communicate with them, ask questions, and solve problems together. All of this helps them to work on their social skills and improve their ability to work together to get things done.

Remember, the ability to be part of a team is essential for children of all ages to learn. If they don’t have a chance to practice this in school, they’re missing out on the ability to develop a skill that will serve them throughout their lives.

Increased Retention

For lots of students, it’s hard to remember information when it’s simply told to them during a lecture. Some students learn well this way, but many perform better and have an easier time retaining details when they have a chance to be more active learners.

Make sure you’re setting all of your students up for success by incorporating active learning strategies into your teaching style. That way, everyone has a chance to learn and integrate information in a way that makes sense for them.

Better Problem-Solving

By making yours an active learning classroom, you can help your students to become better problem solvers, too. As you’ll see in the examples section of this post, many active learning techniques involve presenting students with a particular problem and asking them to discuss or come up with a potential solution to it.

When students have a chance to work through challenges, especially alongside their peers, they have an easier time contending with difficult situations and persevering until they find a solution.

Improved Student Outcomes

Finally, when rates of school engagement and critical thinking go up, alongside improvements in problem-solving abilities, teachers who encourage active learning tend to see better student outcomes than those who do not.

Research shows that hands-on, active learning leads to higher levels of achievement and personal development. Students who don’t engage in active learning are also 1.5 times more likely to fail a course than those who do.

If you want your students to have higher test scores and better overall performance in class (now and in the future), it’s a good idea to start making active learning a priority. 

Examples of Active Learning

What does active learning look like in action? The following are some examples of how parents and teachers are incorporating it into their students’ daily routines:

Case Studies

Case studies are a popular tool for teachers who are looking to increase learning engagement through active learning methods.

Break students up into groups and then present them with a case study. Then, give them a few minutes to discuss the situation and come up with a solution, which they’ll then present to the rest of the class.

High School Student in Group Discussion

This process helps them to practice asking the right questions and solving problems that might not have a clear and obvious answer.

Reciprocal Questioning

Reciprocal questioning is a great tool for encouraging critical thinking. After covering a topic in class, divide students up into groups, and provide them with some questions that they can discuss the topic.

Examples of questions you might use during this activity include the following:

  •  Describe __ in your own words
  • What does __ mean?
  • Why is __ important?
  • In what ways are __ and __ similar?
  • In what ways are __ and __ different?
  • How is __ related to what we learned before?

Devil’s Advocate

The Devil’s Advocate tactic helps students to get better at looking at the opposing side of an argument.

After you’ve discussed a topic, break students into groups, and assign each group a position to defend, regardless of whether or not they agree with it personally. This provides them with an opportunity to address things from a different angle and think differently about a specific subject.

Group Teaching

Group teaching is another popular active learning approach. Students often learn something better when they have to teach it to someone else. They might also be more receptive to hearing from their peers than hearing from you.

Divide students into groups and assign each group a topic. Then, after giving them time to put together a presentation, have them teach the important points of that topic to the rest of the class.

Game-Based Learning

Students can also sharpen their active learning skills through game-based learning. For students who learn by doing, rather than by listening to a lecture or watching someone else do something, this is an especially effective technique.

There are lots of games out there, both physical games and digital games, that make learning fun and engaging for students of all ages.

When incorporating these games into your classroom, try to use a mix of individual activities and group activities. That way, students have a chance to practice learning independently, but they also have opportunities to engage and collaborate with their peers.

Encourage Active Learning Today

Now that you know more about the benefits of using active learning strategies with your students, both at home and at school, it’s time to start putting this type of learning to the test. Keep the examples listed above in mind so you can start encouraging better active learning skills and increased school engagement today.

If you need additional help in creating a positive active learning environment, we’re here for you at Simplova. Check out our store today to see all the different school furniture options we have for sale. We offer solutions that can help you set up a classroom that supports active learning.

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