Tell Students to Get Active

Line up of colour swatches that represents the different scales of colour blindness

Research from a new Harvard study has suggested that it is important that students are aware that active learning provides them with a better learning environment than the traditional classroom or lecture. 

It appears that students believed that they learned more when in a traditional classroom, however the Harvard study is suggesting the belief is incorrect. 

Researchers conducted an experiment that exposed one group of students to the traditional lecture style for 11 weeks. In the twelfth week, part of the class was taught using active learning, while the other half attended high-quality lectures. The interesting part in the study was that the exact same content was used, just the delivery style changed. 

The outcome was that the students believed they learned more while in the high-quality lecture, but, in fact, learned more while in the active learning classes.

So, what does this mean? Well, a couple of things. Firstly, let students know that active learning provides a higher level of learning compared to the traditional lecture. Secondly, what does this mean for student evaluations on learning, when they ‘believe’ they learn best when in a traditional style of classroom?

Access the original study. 

Further reading in our toolbox on Deep Active Learning. 

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