Definition and Importance of Active Learning | Origin: EL113

This is a general discussion forum for the following learning topic:

Active Learning in an Online Environment --> Definition and Importance of Active Learning

Post what you've learned about this topic and how you intend to apply it. Feel free to post questions and comments too.

In active learning, students must take responsibility for their own learning. THe instructor can be a guide in this process. Ways to include active learning in the online and F2F envirnoments include individual assignments, small group and large group assignments, talking, listening, and relecting on course materials. The R2D2 approach is good. This includes: reading, reflection, displaying and doing.

The main takeaway for me is in an online course we need to strive for opportunities where students can interact with the material.  I was around when online learning first started, and it mainly consisted of reading static PDFs or books and writing responses on a discussion board.  There was a need for engaging activities such as interactive labs and simulations to peak a student’s interest.  These engaging activities not only improve student success metrics and mastery of the course learning objectives but increases retention and graduation rates.  One helpful thing I have seen as an administrator, instructor, and student is video feedback in addition to written feedback.   It is a monotonous task to simply post a response to a discussion question and then a few forced responses to classmates.  This is not active learning and more of a situation where the students are checking a box to earn their points.


The online classroom provides an opportunity to build and sequence these kinds of activities more effectively than in the lecture hall. No flipping or hybridization is necessary. Instructions, resources, and information can be laid out in the course itself, and students can work inside the online course and out in the real world.

Much of the research referenced in this module is not new. However, higher ed has been slow to change to these research based active strategies. It is encouraging to hear they are effective in online learning as well. 


I am new to instructing online and it's so different from lecturing in the class room (Sage on the Stage) technique. Using collaborative, cooperative and problem-based learning is something I plan to implement in my online teaching.

This is the first time I have instructed an online circulumn. I have Instructed circulumns in the past that have have offered online components as support but not soley online. The following core elements of active learning I will begin to implement are Immersion, Self-reflection, and Individualism. I really like how this course was able to explain these concepts and highlight why its importance in applying them. 

Activities or assignments that increase students’ attention span and keep them engaged in the class, are at the heart of active learning technique

I have worked for an institiution that has slowly converted away from the traditional way of teaching, standing behind a podium and reading out of a book, to a more student centered learning environment. Example; applying more real world, hands on activities. Collaborations have also increased because we need to teach our students how to commmunicate in the work force.

I can see why active learning may be questioned by seasoned instructors but if you look at it closely it's not very different from what has been done taiditionally

I think its important to engage the students and they to need to be self directed learning.


Active learning engaging the students so they teach them self's.


I liked that there is a need for instructors to work closely with instructional designers.

The biggest thing is the students need to take responsibility for their own learning. 


Active learning is engaged learning. When students sit listening without any yep of participation or engagement learning can not be fully realized. I personally liked how including the development team and even students in course revisions/development was important to ensure active learning.


Seth Soronadi

That "students should not just come to the instructor for answers but should come to him/her for insight and guidance on their own educational journey. Remember that it is the students’ journey, not the instructor’s" It is something keep in mind as an online instructor.


Having grown up with the "sage on the stage" type of learning it will be a challenge to embrace more active learning. However, this will certainly benefit the students who choose to take these kinds of courses as many of them prefer hands-on learning as opposed to a lecture.

I learned that the key difference of collaborative learning and cooperative learning is that students are still individually graded in cooperative learning. 


This is my first "emotive response" to these courses so far. This content is so timely in my life! After 36 years of teaching in college and ten online, my recent struggle has been how to use this new medium to its very best and I feel that this is a load of wisdom toward that.

Active learning:

Offer the challenge, and let the students do the work.


Call, and elicit response.

Demo, and allow students to ape and evolve. 

My takeaway so far:

Guide them into doing what they are there to do. It may look like you're not doing your job as a teacher, but in fact, conducting the orchestra is as big a challenge as playing an instrument. And it's okay to designate time for improv. 


There are two items that have struck a cord with me.  They are as follows:

"In any learning environment, there are three components. They include the 1) learner, 2) instructor/facilitator and 3) learning content. The facilitator’s role is to manipulate, mold and direct the student to learn and be exposed to the course content material."  In the future, I will try to incorporate or use a facilitator role in my methods of teaching.  Although I have incorporate some problem solving methods common to most individuals I will need to make it more student driven. 

"Active learning is broadly described as anything a student does in the classroom environment, whether online or F2F, other than passively listening to a lecture. With this broad definition, most things an instructor could do with students in class would be considered active learning."  This broad definition has cleared up some misconceptions I have had in the past regarding active learning.  We need to look pass the typical lecture style teaching method and use perhaps more of a gaming type method of teaching.