Education & Beyond

Active Learning Techniques for Students

active learning techniques

Active learning techniques are about students doing things and thinking about what they do. But at its core, active learning puts students at the centre and values ​​meaningful collaboration rather than passive consumption. Active learning techniques engage students in learning using activities such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem-solving that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of classroom content. 

Active learning techniques have been a new fad that has been gaining popularity. It also gives students an informal opportunity to assess how well they have understood the material. In this blog, we will understand what active learning is, why students need it, types of active learning strategies and how to implement them etc. 

Let’s get started!

Understanding Active Learning

What is Active Learning? 

Active learning techniques are an instructional approach that actively engages students with course material through discussions, problem-solving, case studies, role-playing, and other methods. 

Active learning approaches place a higher level of responsibility on the student than passive approaches such as lectures. However, it is to be noted that teacher guidance is still crucial in the active learning classroom. Active learning activities can last from a few minutes to entire lessons or span multiple lessons.

Benefits of Active Learning

1. Develop Collaboration Skills 

Collaboration is a pillar of the most active learning approaches. Through collaboration in workgroups or other active learning techniques, students develop the skills they need to collaborate in their careers. 

 2. Encourages Risk-Taking 

Active learning takes students out of their comfort zone by creating an environment that encourages risk-taking. As they become more comfortable sharing their thoughts, defending their conclusions, and building on others’ ideas, they gain confidence and self-control.

 3. Requires Student Preparation

In an active learning classroom, no one is invisible. When students haven’t taken the time to prepare, it’s immediately noticeable that they are physically and mentally more motivated to show up. 

4. Increases Participation

Students who actively learn and participate actively. Whether they are solving a problem, discussing a topic, or researching a concept, they process ideas and create deeper understanding. (And they’re much less likely to multitask in a Zoom or Google Meet session.) If you’re looking for new ideas to get your students thinking, try these quick, active learning activities.

5. Improves Critical Thinking 

Active learning shifts the focus of learning from passively digesting information (and perhaps without questioning it) to taking responsibility for actively engaging with sources and perspectives. As students share ideas, they learn to craft stronger arguments, question assumptions, and recognize leaps of logic.

Active Learning Definition and Examples

Active learning techniques refer to a wide range of teaching strategies in which students are active participants in learning with their teacher during class time. Typically, these strategies involve a certain number of students working together during class, but they may also involve individual work and/or reflection. 

This teaching approach ranges from short, simple activities such as journaling, problem-solving and pair discussions to longer, more complicated activities or pedagogical frameworks such as case studies, role-playing and structured team learning.

Real-Life Examples of Active Learning

  1. Think Pair Share: Students think about the answer to a question and then share their thoughts with a neighbour. 
  1. Role play: Each student assumes the role of a person affected by a geoscience problem, such as a volcano or a polluted lake, and examines the impact of geoscience problems on human life and/or the impact of human activities on the environment. The world around us from that person’s perspective. 
  1.  Peer Review: Students review and comment on materials written by their fellow students. 
  1.  Discussion: To promote a successful discussion, the questions must be asked correctly.  Discover tips for asking discussion questions to encourage higher-order thinking.
  1. Role play: Students consider the topic from the perspective of a character who influences and is influenced by the chosen topic. Problem-solving using real data: Students use a variety of data to investigate scientific questions. 
  1. Just-in-Time Lessons: Students read assigned material outside of class, answer short questions online, and then participate in group exercises in the next class period. 
  1. Game-based learning: uses competitive exercises in which students compete either against each other or through computer simulations.

Types of Active Learning Techniques

types of active learning

A breakdown of different active learning methods-

1. Peer-to-Peer Learning 

Peer-to-peer learning is a mutual learning and training strategy in which peers at the same level engage in collaborative learning. Simply put, peer learning means one or more students teaching other students. 

This type of learning allows students to work on new concepts and exchange ideas with students working on the same project. The opportunity to teach each other and be taught by each other is an effective way for companies to develop stronger students who work productively together.

  • Peer learning promotes collaboration and social skills among students and helps them acquire knowledge by actively supporting other students. 
  • Instead of listening to teachers’ instructions, peer learning allows students to teach their peers through group activities and help each other better understand the curriculum. 
  • Peer learning in classrooms can be implemented by asking older students to teach younger students, incorporating a buddy system, or asking them to form groups and create a presentation to give a talk on a specific topic. 

Examples of Peer-to-Peer Learning in the Classroom: 

  1. Active learning groups 

Active learning groups is one of the active learning techniques where small groups of 5 to 7 people. They are colleagues with a similar level of responsibility and experience and typically work to solve complex problems that seem complex or insoluble. Active learning is a process of intensive questioning, reflective listening, generating new actions and learning from a shared group. 

  1.  Debates 

A debate is a formal activity in which a participant represents a particular point of view and attempts to persuade others who hold a different point of view to agree with the participant’s specific point of view. Discussions promote critical and higher-level thinking skills for everyone involved. 

  1. Discussion groups 

In discussion groups, employees share their knowledge and opinions to make decisions or improve their understanding of a topic. Like debates, group discussions are not designed to generate new actions and insights.

2. Problem Based Learning

Problem-based learning (PBL) is one of the active learning techniques that revolves around problem-solving. is a teaching method that uses complex real-world problems as a means to promote student learning of concepts and principles, rather than the direct presentation of facts and concepts. In addition to course content, PBL can promote the development of critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and communication skills. It can also provide opportunities to work in groups, find and evaluate research materials, and enable lifelong learning. 

 When creating a plan for problem-based learning, here are some things to consider: 

  • The problem should motivate students to pursue a deeper understanding of the concepts. 
  • The problem must require students to make reasoned decisions and defend them.- The problem must incorporate the content objectives in a way that is related to previous courses/knowledge. 
  • If the problem is being used for a group project, it must be complex enough that students must work together to solve it. 
  • When used for a multi-step project, the initial steps of the problem should be open and engaging to engage students in the problem.

The effective active teaching strategies to execute a PBL can be as follows:

 1. Working in teams. 

 2. Manage projects and take on leadership roles. 

 3. Oral and written communication. 

 4. Self-knowledge and evaluation of group processes. 

 5. Work independently.

 6. Critical thinking and analysis. 

 7. Explain concepts. 

 8. Independent learning. 

 9. Apply course content to real-world examples. 

10. Research and information literacy.11. Problem solving across disciplines. 

A well-designed PBL project provides students with the opportunity to develop a vast set of skills.

In such active learning techniques students are generally required to: 

  • Investigate and define the problem. 
  • Discover what you already know about the underlying issues involved. 
  • Determine what they need to learn and where they can get the information and tools needed to solve the problem.
  • Evaluate possible ways to solve the problem. 
  • Solve the problem. 
  • Report of its conclusions.

3. Flipped Classroom

In the traditional teaching style, teachers present a lesson to students and then assign homework in class or at home. The definition of a flipped classroom is the reversal of the traditional method. It si one of the active learning techniques where students takes charge!

  • In the “flipped classroom”, students complete direct teaching units, e.g. B. watching an online lecture before discussing the material in class. The goal is for students to preview the material, also known as “first exposure learning,” so they can learn the concepts at their own pace. 
  • This technique allows students to better focus on class participation and receive feedback on their efforts during class rather than afterwards. 
  • Teachers who use a flipped classroom model are better able to support their students in active learning. 
  • With the flipped classroom teaching style, students become much more engaged during class discussions by participating in debates, small group discussions, or in-depth investigations.

The 2 pillars of the flipped classroom method include the following: 

  • Flexible Learning Environment: One of the defining characteristics of a flipped learning classroom is that it provides fluid schedules for student work and understanding. Teachers have to adapt to the pace of their students in class. 
  • Learning Culture: Teachers foster a rich environment that allows students to delve deeper into topics and provides opportunities for self-reflection and practical activities. 

 The benefits of Flipped Classroom are as follows: 

  • The main benefit of a flipped classroom is that it allows students to take ownership of their learning process. 
  • In the flipped classroom model, students take control of the process and thereby improve their social skills such as resilience and communication.
  • These include more time for student-teacher interaction, better test scores, and less stress for students.

Also Read: How To Create An Innovative Learning Environment In The Classroom?

Strategies for Implementing Active Learning

Active Learning Strategies

The following tips and techniques should be followed for incorporating active learning into study routines: 

1. Set Clear Objectives 

Defining clear learning goals is the first step in introducing an active learning strategy. It is important to set an outcome during an active learning strategy. By establishing a clear focus, both teaching and learning paths become more coherent and easier to imagine.

  1. Begin your learning objectives with action verbs (e.g., list, identify, remember, describe, explain, use, analyze, solve, evaluate, create, etc.).
  1. Make sure your learning objectives are specific, realistic, observable, and measurable behaviours that will help students pass the course. 
  1.  Make sure you have one set of goals for the course and another set of subgoals for each lesson.

2. Encourage Collaboration

Collaborative learning encourages students to work effectively with their peers, help each other learn, and develop a sense of belonging. Collaborative learning activities can be designed for pairs, small groups, or larger groups. Peer learning or peer teaching is a form of collaborative learning in which students work together in pairs or small groups to discuss concepts or find solutions to problems. 

Collaborative learning (the practice of breaking students into small groups to answer questions, work on projects, and learn from each other) has become one of the strongest core philosophies used in classrooms today. 

In collaborative learning situations, students also gain the opportunity to feel more social and engaged with other students and the course as a whole. 

For example, discussions and debates encourage students to participate in class discussions, and debates on course-related topics can help promote active learning and critical thinking.

3. Utilise Technology

In active learning, technology plays a key role in keeping students engaged and seamless. Without the help of technology, it will not be easy for students to be creative and productive. Plus, without technology, it can be a hassle. 

It allows them to search for any information when they have questions and to share their ideas creatively. Technology makes the classroom a comfortable space for learning without worries or barriers.

Finding creative ways to use technology in active learning can increase student enthusiasm and engagement in class. 

From assisting with communication between teachers and students (as well as between peers) to enhancing presentations and lessons with media and images, there are no limits to the possibilities for using technology in the classroom to create an enriching learning environment. 

Technology is used in active learning as follows: 

  •  Gamified learning 
  •  Social media integration 
  •  Collecting student feedback 
  •  Video/multimedia lessons and presentations

Also Read: How to Learn Fast for Exam?

Overcoming Challenges in Active Learning

When implementing an active learning strategy, students and teachers may encounter certain obstacles. Let’s take a look at these obstacles and how to overcome them. 

 1. Engaging Reluctant Participants

Students often refuse to participate in activities that could hinder the overall effect or implementation of active learning. 

  • Give clear instructions. 
  • Specify the goal that students should complete, how much time they have for the activity, what procedures they should follow, and with whom they should work (e.g., Turn to the person next to you). Understand why you use active learning and what benefits you can expect from it.

2. Managing Time Constraints

The way to manage time in active learning strategies is a task for both the students and teachers. Time can be managed in the following ways to execute active learning strategies:

  • Plan ahead and be flexible: Another important strategy for implementing active learning is to plan ahead and be flexible. This means you should prepare your materials, instructions, and assessments in advance, but also be prepared to adapt to your student’s needs and feedback. 
  • Use technology wisely: A third effective strategy for implementing active learning is the wise use of technology. This means you need to harness the potential of digital tools and platforms to improve your activities, but also be aware of the limitations and challenges they bring.

3. Assessing Learning Outcomes

One of the first steps to implementing active learning is to align the activities with your learning goals. This means you need to design and select activities that match the level and type of knowledge and skills that need to be achieved. 

For example, if your goal is to apply a concept, you might use a case study, a simulation, or a project-based activity. 

If you aim to help students analyse a concept, you can use a discussion, critique, or comparison activity. By aligning activities with goals, you can avoid wasting time and resources on irrelevant or ineffective tasks.


The concept of active learning has become particularly important since the pandemic. Many students begin to expect classes to include some interaction and opportunities to practice, discuss, or apply what they have learned. The best way to ensure that you and your students have a positive experience with active learning is to be transparent about how and why you will use it.

Also Read: 10 Types Of Learning Styles for Students

FAQs on Active Learning Techniques for Students

Q1. What is the student active learning method?

Ans. Active learning is an instructional approach that actively engages students with course material through discussions, problem-solving, case studies, role-playing, and other methods.

Q2. What are the common active learning methodologies?

Ans. Some of the common active learning methodologies are peer-to-peer learning, case studies, role-playing, group discussions etc. 

Q3. What are the active teaching strategies teachers need to take care of?

Ans. There are some active teaching strategies that teachers can use for flawless execution:
• Offer students more control over their learning.
• Encourage students to focus on their learning.
• Increase students’ enthusiasm for their studies.
• Promote collaboration.

Q4. What is an example of active learning? 

Ans. There are certainly many examples of teaching tasks that could be described as “active learning”. Some of the most common examples include pair thinking and sharing exercises, puzzle discussions, and even simply pausing to clarify something during a lecture.

Q5. What is the role of students in activity-based learning?

Ans. To gain the maximum benefit out of active learning strategies planned for them, students should be highly participative, engaged and immersive in the experience.

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