Active learning

Learn actively, memorize effectively: The advantages of active learning

“Active learning” refers to an approach to learning in which the person learning is actively engaged and not just passively absorbing information. It means playing an active role in the acquisition of knowledge and skills by processing and applying the information oneself rather than simply receiving it. Active learning can take place in a variety of ways, for example through discussion, problem solving, practical exercises, self-reflection and feedback. The purpose of active learning is to help you better understand what you learn and retain it in your memory longer.

Does e-learning always count as active learning?

E-learning can be part of active learning, but it depends on how it is designed and how it is used. E-learning can include a variety of methods, from online-only courses to virtual classrooms with interaction and feedback.

If e-learning includes interactive elements such as quizzes, discussions, hands-on exercises and case studies, storytelling, gamification, etc., then it can be part of active learning. This is because it allows learners to process and apply the content themselves, rather than just receive it.

On the other hand, if e-learning consists only of video lectures or presentations where learners merely listen or read, then it may be more of an example of passive learning.

Is e-learning that follows the "passive learning" approach useful?

It is debatable whether e-learning can be used well as “passive learning”. While it is argued that e-learning is a very effective way to deliver information quickly and conveniently, especially for topics that are difficult to understand or that can change quickly. On the other hand, using e-learning as “passive learning” can lead to not processing the information well and not retaining it as well in memory. It can also be more difficult to practice applying knowledge and skills in practical situations and receive feedback.

Active learning vs passive learning in e-learning

It is generally accepted that active learning is usually more effective than passive learning, particularly in understanding, applying, and retaining knowledge and skills. Active learning promotes the learner’s processing and integration of information by allowing them to apply their knowledge, internalize it through storytelling, and reflect on it. This leads to a deeper understanding and better retention of information.

Passive learning methods in e-learning

Methods that are considered “passive learning” in e-learning primarily involve passive information intake. Here are some examples:

Playback of lectures or presentations
Simply play a recording of a lecture or presentation, without interaction or active participation.

Reading and exercise books
Easily read textbooks or exercise books online or on paper, with no interactive elements or feedback available.

Multiple choice quizzes
Answering multiple-choice questions, selecting the answer from a given list, without the opportunity to discuss or explain the answers.

Simple information display
Display of information where there is no possibility to actively process or apply the content.

Active learning methods in e-learning

Active learning” includes, in particular, interactive elements that enable learners to actively process and apply the content.

Interactive exercises
Exercises that allow learners to actively apply the content, e.g., hands-on exercises, simulations, games.

Discussions and collaboration
Platforms that allow learners to discuss with others, share ideas, and collaborate on projects.

Project work
Projects that allow learners to actively apply the content by solving a real-world problem or creating a real product.

Feedback and reflection
Feedback systems that allow learners to check and improve their understanding, and platforms that allow them to reflect and think about their learning.

Personalized learning
Adaptive systems that allow learners to tailor their learning to their individual needs and abilities.

Active learning in e-learning thus has many advantages over the passive method. Active learning “forces” learners to actively process and apply content, leading to deeper understanding and retention of information. In addition, interactive elements, such as discussions and project work, can make learning a social and collaborative experience. In addition, adaptive systems that are part of active learning enable a personalized learning environment based on the needs and abilities of each learner. In short, active learning in e-learning is preferable as it provides a more effective and deeper way of learning and allows learners to actively process and apply the content.