This chapter discusses active learning and its implementation for teaching. Although active learning is a general term in education, the focus of this chapter is on technological means/tools that can enable active learning. The means presented may be implemented in computer-mediated learning either by students operating a stand-alone local personal computer equipped with appropriate hardware and software or in both synchronous and asynchronous distance learning environments. More specifically, the current chapter discusses two technology-based means that can enable active learning—computerized feedback intervention and interactive animations.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Feedback: The process in which part of the output of a system is returned to its input in order to regulate its further output. Often this is done intentionally, in order to control the dynamic behavior of the system
Active Learning: Active learning involves students in course material through carefully constructed activities. It is about learning from doing, performing, and taking action and usually contrasts with the conventional lecture method. The action can be either mental or physical.
Animation: Technique by which inanimate objects seem to come alive by flashing a series of minutely changed images at a rate which the brain interprets as movement.
Social Constructivism: Social constructivism suggests that learners learn concepts or construct meaning about ideas through their interaction with others, with their world, and through interpretations of that world by actively constructing meaning. Learners construct knowledge or understanding as a result of active learning, thinking and doing in social contexts.
Negative Feedback (in an Educational Context): Feedback from the teacher about a mistake made by a student. Sometimes used as a synonym for “criticism”.
Positive Feedback (in an Educational Context): Acknowledge students when they do something right; usually given in the form of praise or recognition.
Visual Literacy: The ability to look at visual information with perception. A visually literate person understands how visual elements contribute to the meaning of the whole.
Constructivism: Constructivism is a set of assumptions about learning that guide many learning theories and associated teaching methods. This is a theory concerned with learning and knowledge, which suggests that human beings are active learners who construct their knowledge from personal experiences and on their efforts to give meaning to these experiences.
Feedback (in an Educational Context): Actions taken by an external agent(s) to provide information regarding some aspect(s) of one’s task performance. We concentrate here on feedback intervention given to the student by an external agent (the teacher) as regards certain aspects and outcomes of the learning process.
Computerized Feedback: Feedback that is prepared by the teacher in advance and returned to the student (automatically) by the computer.