Published
Sep 25, 2019
Reading time
1 min read
Passive Versus Active Learning

Dear friends,

I read an interesting paper comparing the results of traditional passive learning (sitting in a lecture) versus active methods like the flipped classroom, where students watch videos at home and work on exercises in class. The paper is nicely summarized by this figure:

The leftmost pair of bars shows that students learn more from active learning. Ironically, they feel they are learning more from passive methods, shown by the remaining bars.

I’ve been using a flipped classroom for much of my teaching, with great results. Students watch lectures on Coursera, then come to the classroom to ask questions and work in small groups. This paper explains why many instructors are reluctant to switch to active learning, even though it’s more effective.

The world needs much better education everywhere. I hope more educators who teach in person will embrace active learning methods.

Keep learning!

Andrew

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