The importance of a student’s involvement in learning is well documented and well known. It is easy to sum up research related to active learning by simply saying, “students who participate in the learning process learn more than those who do not” (Weaver & Qi, 2005, p. 570). Active learning seeks to create a learner-centered environment and engage students as active participants in their education. The opposite of this is passive learning, which is thought of as the traditional way of teaching where the professor is a subject matter expert whose role is to convey the knowledge to an audience of students (Barr & Tagg, 1995). While the success of active learning is well documented, some instructors may find it difficult to fully engage students as active learners in the classroom. Active learning requires student participation, which is easier for some students than it is for others. Larkin and Pines (2003) found theF common practice of calling on students to promote active learning in the classroom resulted in a “clear and unmistakable pattern of avoidance behavior as reported by both male and female students” because many students seek ways to avoid the psychologically unpleasant situation of providing the wrong answer and looking foolish. Larkin and Pines (2003) argue that if a student’s emotional and cognitive resources become directed towards avoiding the immediate threat of being called on, then arguably the practice of calling on students may reduce active learning, which was the intended goal of calling on the student in the first place. Fortunately, educational technologies are able to assist in this challenge.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Educational Technology: Practice and study of facilitating and enhancing the learning process through the use of technological resources.
Passive Learning: Traditional way of teaching where the professor is a subject matter expert whose role is to convey the knowledge to an audience of students The opposite of this is active learning.
Student Response System: Computer-based systems that allow audience members to participate in presentations by submitting their responses to interactive questions using hand-held devices or clickers
Active Learning: Active learning seeks to create a learner-centered environment and engage students as active participants in their education. The opposite of this is passive learning
Classroom Network: A classroom that uses specific software designed to enhance communication between teacher and students.
Clickers: Part of a student response system, these are hand-held wireless devices that students can use to respond to instructor questions.