Human interaction through active learning is vital to engagement, and we have the research to prove it.
At 360Learning, we’ve spent the last few years analyzing the impact human interaction has on learning performance indicators. The results? We found that interaction changes everything.
Have you ever taken a class that was so engaging it didn’t feel like work at all? The professor asked intriguing questions and let the discussion flow organically. You worked through problems as a team and constructed your own understanding of the topics as you went. You may have even found yourself discussing it outside of class with friends. It all just clicked for you.
This isn’t a coincidence.
This is an example of active learning, a process where the student is involved in actively constructing his own understanding of the subject, often through group interactions and applied thinking.
This method of learning has been scientifically proven to increase a student’s engagement, comprehension, and retention of material. In this article, we’re here to break it all down for you.
Active learning makes a huge difference in engagement
How much of a difference does active learning make? Well as it turns out, quite a big one.
A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Washington proved that not only does active learning positively affect a student’s academic performance, but the absence of active learning can actually harm a student’s chances of academic success.
Let’s take a deeper look.
The study, which was published by one of the world’s most-cited multidisciplinary scientific journals, PNAS, was first conceptualized in response to a decline in students earning degrees in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
The number of U.S. students entering college with a concentration within a STEM field is already low, to begin with, at less than 40%. Of those of that do concentrate in STEM fields, only 20% end up graduating with a STEM degree.
By attempting to understand what could possibly be causing such a small number of degree achievements, the researchers examined the learning environments used in STEM courses. They asked an interesting question: Which is better for student performance, lecture-based learning, or student-focused active learning?