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Using Active Learning to Enhance Critical Learning | Origin: EL113

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

Active Learning in an Online Environment --> Using Active Learning to Enhance Critical Learning

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


Developing critical thinking in the online environment can be done through a robust discussion board.  The instructor must be extremely active, ask probing questions, and provide students the opportunity to engage with not only the instructor but other students as well.  Instructors who are MIA on their discussion boards, and those who are not providing responses that generate an opportunity for further engagement are doing their students a disservice.  Instructors should also post on day one of any given week to provide opportunities for engagement throughout every week.

Students also need to be instructed in the art of self-reflection and applying what they have learned.  An educational experience that simply encourages memorization and checking a task box is not going to develop these sought-after skills.  Open ended questions and assignments which require students to engage in the application of the lessons are essential especially in the online environment where the interaction is not as robust as an on-campus course.

Instructors who can discover topics and trends which are of interest to their various students can bring out that excitement and it will present itself on the discussion board.  A casual observation of a weekly discussion board can be an easy to read sign if active learning and engagement is occurring.  Playing ‘devils advocate’ is a good method which can stimulate discussion between students and offer differing viewpoints.


Critical thinking is taking a subject and turning it over to explore it deeper and have it relate to your own life.  This skill does not come easy for every student.  Therefore doing things like group activities 

Collaborative and cooperation activities can help online learners in many ways. One is is that if forms a bond between classmates and it gives them a level platform to ask questions and to find out new resources.


Critical thinking is one of the most powerfull tools used in problem solving

Critical and problem based teachings can help the students in many ways.


Critical thinking is an important skill to have, specially in the health sciences. Students need to be engaged and challanged in ways that would spark imagination and inspiration to solve complex problems. Students need to reflect on their learning to ensure critical thinking and learning. 


Students need to have the critical thinking skill in the real world. Using the techniques learned we as instructors can help build the critical thinking skill.


Critical thinking dosen't come easy for many students they must do more than just listen they must read, write, discuss or be engaged in solving problems with their peers.


i can see that Students need to have the critical thinking skill in the real world. Using the techniques learned we as instructors can help build the critical thinking skill.

Tips for promoting critical thinking are, ask students questions and ask them to justify their answer. 


Seth Soronnadi

Interesting to know that "Problem-based learning is defined as instruction which starts with a problem. The problem can be anything, and scenarios that exist in the real world are quite rewarding to use. Students can delve into particular topics and build their opinions, thoughts and ideas based on their prior knowledge and course resources, as well as the direction of the online instructor."


Critical thinking is powerful tool for problem sloving. This will help students later in their careers.

"Adults learning by doing" and so do students.  Most of my students get very motivated in lecture or lab when they have to mentally or physically solve a problem or make a project or do both.  I have found that "problem solving" is an excellent method to teach students concepts that are otherwise sometimed missed during lecture.  Participation increases 10X as soon as students are allowed to go into the lab to work on a project or solve a problem associated with a project.  This combined with collabrative learning allows students to develop collabrative relationships with each other that are so important for the critical thinking process to work.  Learning how to develop these collabrative relationships in school with allow them to build upon them later in life in their careers/business line. 

Online Instructors should be aware of their role as a facilitator in the Active Learning process and assist students in their progress toward becoming a critical thinker by giving guidelines, encouraging peer and instructor communication, and bringing different perspectives to the class.


Crtical thinking and group problem solving is a strong way of refining the student's skills with the new software tools they are learning in my class. Very rewarding for everyone.


Critical thinking, collaborating, and problem-solving are used in my classroom already.  I will strive to continue to use these situation in my lab and in the online platform to create more active learning in my subject area.

Critical thinking, collaboration and cooperation, and problem based learning can all be combined using a real-world scenario to create a great learning experience.  It requires clever guidance, encouragement and adaptation.  This means doing a lot of preparatory work.  But the desired outcome makes all the work by the teacher and students worthwhile.  Students learn all the skills they need for a career, college or military future.  My goal will be to tweak the way I've been doing my PBLs with the ideas provided in this course.


I agree many students lack the critical thinking process. They don’t like to take time to think and listening to another opinion. An instructor should make a strong course filled with critical thinking opportunities by giving open ends questions to encourage students to involve problem-solving.

Most students find it hard when asked critical thinking questions, making them work a little harder to find the answers with life experiences and knowledge that they have acquired.

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