‘Active learning’ is described as a classroom approach which acknowledges that learners are active in the learning process by building knowledge and understanding, in response to learning opportunities provided by their teacher.
This is in contrast to the outdated model of instruction whereby knowledge isimparted or transmitted from the teacher to students. Cambridge emphatically says that active learning is anapproach in which learners take an increasing responsibility for theirlearning, and that teachers are enablers and activators of learning, ratherthan lecturers or deliverers of ideas.
Other approachesand terminologies that are associated with active learning include:
- Student-centered, or learner-centered learning, where students play an active role in their learning, with the teacher as an activator of learning, rather than an instructor
- Enquiry-based, problem-based or discovery learning, where learners learn by addressing and posing scientific questions, analyzing evidence, connecting such evidence to pre-existing theoretical knowledge, drawing conclusions, and reflecting upon their findings.
- Experiential learning, which broadly describes one’s learning from a direct experience
Evidence indicates that excessive focus on examination results restricts teaching to be bound within the framework of the test, and reduces the extent to which active, student-centered learning is adopted.
Our ethos which focuses on student learning, rather than simply attainment, is essential in enabling teachers to avoid an ‘exam factory’ mentality but to foster learners’ greater enjoyment and ownership of their own learning.