Active Learning Techniques in Online Courses

Active learning is an engaging form of learning that involves higher-order thinking skills such as evaluation, synthesis, and analysis. It is much more effective than the passive learning that occurs when students simply listen to a lecture or watch a powerpoint presentation. When engaged in active learning, students are forced to process and apply the information that they learned.

How can professors create opportunities for active learning in online courses?

Mark Trego, Active Learning Technician at Northwest Iowa Community College, suggests dividing students into several small groups and asking each group to discuss a specific topic with their fellow group-members on discussion boards. Each group should then present their findings to the rest of the class. Finally, all groups should critique their peers’ presentations.

For a more detailed explanation of active learning and its applications, see Mark Trego’s full video below.

4 comments for “Active Learning Techniques in Online Courses

  1. Tom Mawhinney
    February 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    This video contained some faulty research – the pyramid that includes that students retain 10% of what they read is not based on any research. Check it out:

    • Rachel
      February 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

      Very interesting – Thanks for pointing that out!

  2. June 2, 2016 at 2:51 am

    Active learning is one of the most effective ways of learning indeed, but creating an online active learning environment requires careful attention.
    Active Learning Benefits:
    1. Active learning gives learners the opportunity to explore for themselves,
    2. Self-exploration makes it unavoidable for learners to enhance their critical thinking and decision making skills.

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  3. June 2, 2016 at 2:53 am

    Very informative video.

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