Is Active Learning Better Than Passive Learning?

Active Or Passive Learning: Which Is More Suitable?
Summary: Which is more suitable to train your employees or teach your students: active or passive learning? Let's discuss the pros and cons of each.

Imparting Learning In The Best Possible Way: Active Or Passive Learning?

Every company wants to make its employees learn today. But it is not an easy process. Sometimes, employees forget the information they have learned. This can prove to be hazardous for companies because employees can commit compliance-related mistakes.

The Meaning Of Active Learning

Active learning is a different way of educating learners. This kind of learning involves learners discussing the information after a session with the trainer. This is a good way of preventing learners from forgetting things they have learned. So, the learner strengthens their comprehension of the materials taught to them through discussions and experiments.

Sometimes, they also teach their peers to understand the information. In an active learning session, the facilitators motivate students to clarify their doubts. They can also talk to other learners and help them resolve their problems. They can have group discussions about the matter. In this way, learning efficiency is increased, because they talk to others about the same topic and listen to their viewpoints. This also causes them to remember knowledge for a longer time. Role-playing can also be a part of such activities so that students can understand information in a better way.

The Meaning Of Passive Learning

In passive learning, the students simply imbibe the information given to them without actually discussing it. So, it is up to the student to make the most of the information given to them. In passive learning, the instructor does not have much of a role beyond giving lectures, during which learners jot down the important points. After the lecture is over, the instructor walks out of the room. Students don’t have much scope for resolving their doubts from the instructor. They can’t even discuss things with peers. If learners have any doubts, they can google things to solve them. Any confusion left in the learner's mind makes it tough for them to recall information later.

This method is more like self-study. The students can also be assigned books to consult for different topics known as readings, and they can study them in detail. The main aim of this kind of method of learning is to prepare the student for tests and not analyze the information at a given time. So, the recall value is not pretty high, but students can remember the information up to a certain time to write it down in tests.

Which Form Of Learning Is More Suitable?

Passive Learning

Although passive learning is apt for certain topics, it is not useful for all purposes. To ensure that the students can gain a better insight into the topic, instructors should ensure that passive learning is combined with active learning. After a lecture is complete, students should be asked to quote examples of how such information can be used. If the students are unable to cite such examples, the teacher should help them.

Passive learning should be followed by active learning. That way, students can understand the material better after the teacher is done with the session. The instructor can give an introductory lecture using the materials and then ensure that the students can discuss the topics among themselves.

Passive learning is useful in cases where students just need to know the basics. For example, in the case of historical facts, students need to know when and how they happened. They don’t need to analyze why they happened. Even mathematical formulas are ideal to be taught through passive learning. In such kinds of topics, students don’t need any discussion because they don’t have to know how the formulas originated. They don’t need to go into the history behind the formula. Even language learning can be imparted through passive learning because students don’t need the origin of every word. Some of the words can be easily memorized, other words can be mugged up through a story behind them.

Active Learning

On the other hand, active learning is suitable for topics like communication. For example, when students are studying subjects like Economics, they need to know why things are the way they are. That’s where group discussions come into the picture. Even in Engineering, students need to analyze topics, hence activities like group discussions are necessary.

The instructor must give the students case studies to be able to discuss the topics in detail. They can also offer engineering projects so that they have a better understanding. Some more subjects like Anthropology also require research by students so that they discover the differences between the cultures of countries.

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