Active learning techniques

An overview of ways to keep learners engaged and active, with links to articles demonstrating specific techniques.

Caitlin Foran avatar
Written by Caitlin Foran
Updated over a week ago

What is active learning?

Active learning is where learners are actually doing something with concepts or information.  We contrast active learning with passive learning where learners are just absorbing information. Active learning leads to greater engagement, deeper learning and a better chance of concepts making it into long term memory.

The spectrum of active learning techniques

You can do active learning really simply – just make sure you’ve got some quick “have you got this?” checks every couple of pages. These are more focused on retrieval of information. There’s such a huge range of tasks you can use to do this that you can still give lots of variety. 

From there you can up the ante by getting them to do more than just retrieve the information. You can get them to take it apart, put it back together again, compare it to something they already know etc. etc. 

You can make active learning even more authentic, personalised, collaborative and open with some slightly more complex activities. They might take a little longer to create and orchestrate, but they’re worth it.

We’ve created some knowledgebase articles covering a few of the simpler techniques. Dive in and take a look.

  • Definitions - Help learners remember terms, concepts or theories with simple retrieval-type questions.

  • Compare and contrast - Help learners really understand concepts by looking at exceptions, similarities and differences.

  • Ordering and ranking - Help learners understand procedures, sequence or hierarchy by looking at order.

Our tasks are brand spanking new so we're just getting started on this list. Watch this space – more knowledgebase articles coming your way soon.

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