Active Learning In Higher Education: Advantages & Its Impact On Student Engagement



17 April, 2024

Active Learning In Higher Education: Advantages & Its Impact On Student Engagement

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

The quest for knowledge is a lifelong adventure and the journey of traditional education will equip you with foundational knowledge. But it is more about the experiences that we gather along the way that truly solidify our understanding.

A revolutionary approach called active learning is breathing new life into classrooms worldwide. This method especially boosts engagement among the students through various activities. It helps them to develop a sense of critical thinking. It is not just about absorbing information; it is about actively constructing knowledge.

Active learning means you can do things practically to learn instead of just listening. These activities will make you think and understand the concept of learning.

In the United States, colleges are at the forefront of this change. Currently, more than 200 U.S. universities have active learning classrooms. Universities like Stanford and the University of Minnesota have programs to teach instructors about active learning methods. This method involves more than just absorbing information, students are actively involved in the learning process. This can take many forms, but here are some popular examples:

Group Discussions

There is a history class where you not only memorise dates but also discuss the logic and reason behind a specific war in small groups. This will not only encourage you to analyse information but also articulate your thoughts.

Problem-Solving Activities

These problem-solving activities will help develop problem-solving skills. It’s similar to encountering real-world examples in your science class, such as designing a bridge to withstand a specific weight. You will be working in a team and sharing your ideas to solve the problem which will develop critical thinking and teamwork skills.

Active learning Makes a Huge Impact

The impact of active learning on student engagement is undeniable.

“The more you engage, the more you learn”. You might have heard this statement once in your life and active learning proves it is true.

You engage in activities to understand the concept instead of listening to lectures. This approach develops critical thinking skills, enhancing your overall learning experience.

Active Learning in Action: Transforming Education for Better Results

Teaching Activity Description
Think-pair-share You will be learning about the lesson content and sharing thoughts with your batchmates.
Class discussion You will be involved in using the Socratic method to stimulate thoughtful dialogue and encourage higher-order thinking.
Small group discussion You will be participating in smaller groups to enhance your participation. This will include discussions, games, competitions, and assignments.
One-minute paper You will be writing short responses to review materials and assess understanding.
Peer review You will provide feedback to your batchmates.

The Advantages of Active Learning

Albert Einstein once said, “Education isn’t just about learning facts, but about teaching the mind to think.”

Passive learning is more focused on facts while active learning is more focused on developing problem-solving skills.

As per ViewSonic, Active learning is more practical than traditional lectures as it is backed by 225 studies. In the study, they found that exam scores improved by half a grade and failure rates dropped by 55%. This means students in lecture classes failed by 55% more often. This example clearly shows that if we are adopting this method it can be really helpful to improve the learning experience.

Collaborative Skills

Collaboration is a big part of active learning. You will be prepared for jobs where teamwork is required. If you just focus on writing essays and taking exams then you might face some struggles in the future. By working together in groups during class, you will learn the importance of collaboration.

Encourage Risk-Taking

You might not like the idea of active learning at first, as it is simpler and more convenient to sit in class and take notes. However, active learning will push you to try new things and take risks on your own. It will encourage you to share your ideas and defend your thoughts, which will make you more confident.

Sharpens Critical Thinking

As you will be participating in many discussions, debates, or problem-solving activities, this will strengthen your critical thinking skills. Active learning encourages you to analyse information, evaluate arguments, and form conclusions.

Increases Retention

As per Dale’s Cone of Experience, students read and remember 10% of it and 20% of what they hear. But this is noticeable: whatever they do, they remember 90%.

Active learning classrooms are much livelier. In these classes, students usually put their ideas into action and work on group projects. These activities lead them to develop design thinking.


The transition to active learning does not mean, you should leave your lectures or traditional studies altogether. They are still valuable tools for introducing new concepts and it has a separate value. However, by using these active learning strategies, teachers can create a more engaging and effective learning environment for their students.

In the end, the best classrooms are not just where you get the information, they are places where knowledge is built and used actively.

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