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Active Learning | A Fundamental Principle of Successful Learning

I will show you in this article “Active Learning | A Fundamental Principle of Successful Learning” & how to implement it. Active learning is one of the most powerful learning strategies. It requires adding to learn action and reduce passive learning. Active learning is a key to learn more efficient.

Active Learning Empowers Learning!

It is one of the most powerful learning strategies at all. It improves all aspects of learning – memory, understanding, thinking and skill.

Learning in academia is mostly passive: the student listens to lectures, reads articles, summarizes them, and then reads his summaries again. The only active aspect of the process is the stage at which the student summarizes the lecture or essay, or asks the lecturer. In academia the student is mainly a “sponge” whose job is to absorb information from the outside. Active learning requires you to bring out what you have learned, not just to swallow. In active learning, the learner dedicates a large part of the learning time to various kinds of work , assuming that the deepest learning takes place while doing.

Active Learning – Why is it important?

You can sense intuitively that when you listen to a lecture or read a book without doing anything beyond. The majority “listen from one ear and out the other”. If you have summarized what you have heard or read, you probably think that you are free from any further work. Just to prepare for the test you read the summaries over and over again. However, a well-known study of ten different learning methods according by their effectiveness determined that rereading or marking in the highlight was very helpful (a review of the study ).

In contrast, when you do something with the material. For example, explain it to someone else, summarize it or writing it in different styles several times. And discuss it or do something else from the various methods. I will present below – the learning outcomes will be much higher, including strong memory and deep understanding and processing. When we are required to bring out what we have learned from within, we must work hard to do so. We must think about what we have learned, and we are actually re-creating the material based on the raw information we received in reading or passive listening. We create subjective links that are unique to us, and create personal meaning. This effort and the provision of personal connection are what make learning easier. Its help the brain to make and accelerate the learning process.

Constructiveness is one of the most important learning theories, and one of its main applications is active learning. As I wrote in an article on constructiveness . In this article I will not elaborate on constructiveness. I just to say that active learning is one of the basic applications that emerge from it.

Thousands of studies have been conducted on active learning compared with passive learning. It is considered in the world of education about the enormous benefit of active learning. This is so obvious that the National Academy of Sciences in the United States suggested that it might be unethical to continue to conduct research with a control group in which students study only with lectures, as it is detrimental to their learning …

Active Learning – When Learning Theoretical Material

Active Learning | A Fundamental Principle of Successful Learning

Over the years, various teaching methods have been developed based on active learning, such as project-based learning, research and more, all of which have provided a central place for active learning. The problem with all these methods is that they are intended for teachers, and it is difficult to implement them independently.

In other words, if you study at a university and your professor teaches in the old way of lectures and books, you can not rebuild the course with a learning method. Active learning is a particularly powerful learning strategy, but it is difficult to find ways to implement it. The most important question I will answer in this article is how you can learn active learning if you are learning a course based on passive learning.

I will further reduce the question: If you are developing practical skills such as learning Photoshop or solving engineering exercises, it is easy to apply active learning: you have to jump into the water, practice a lot, go through trial and error and learn while doing. Learning by doing (learning by doing) is intuitive and easy to implement.

This is easy to apply when it comes to practical studies, but how can one learn active learning when it comes to theoretical material? How can active learning be applied when studying psychoanalytic theories, the history of the Mugals (Kings) empire or the structure of the atom?

In the following lines I will present ways to implement active learning in theoretical material.

Active Learning: How to do it?

I will divide the methods into the following learning layers – memory and understanding:

Active Learning with Retrieval and Self-Examination

Active Learning | A Fundamental Principle of Successful Learning

When it comes to memory, active learning can be applied through retrieval. Retrieval is an active retrieval of information from memory, without the assistance of summaries.

For example, if you want to remember the names of the Kings in ancient Egypt, there is no point in reading the list again. Instead, you must take a pen and draw the names of the kings from memory and write them on the page. Probably in the middle of the process you will find that you do not remember everything. Here comes the most important point: you must try to remember, and only then look at the summary. The effort to pull out the information builds the memory, just as the effort to lift weights on the edge of capacity builds the muscle.

An advanced variation of the retrieval method is to test yourself : this is not an official test of your institution, but the test you are creating for yourself. Look for questions about the material and answer them. If you have ready questions – that’s good. If not – make up your own questions and answer them.

Recall and self-examination are central tools for active learning, but they have additional benefit in that they present the learner with objective findings about his level of knowledge. Self-examination and retrieval are a kind of “scientific experiment” that objectively displays how much you know.

Brown and his colleagues explain that self-examination is important because in learning we have the illusion of knowing , In their book “Make It Stick”. We may feel that we know the material well, while objectively we do not. The subjective feeling that we control matter can be distorted and not connected to reality. To overcome the illusion of knowledge we have to put ourselves to the test, get a real indication of our state of knowledge, and then complete what we do not know. When you examine yourself, you will find holes in the knowledge that you did not feel and float in vague themes, and then you can complete them.

Active Learning with Understanding Performance

Active Learning with Understanding Performance

When it comes to deepening understanding, it is possible to perform understanding performance that will deepen understanding. The principle is that in order to understand, one has to make an understanding, through which the understanding becomes sharper.

One of the best understanding performance is to explain the ideas in your own words.

When you explain the material in your own words, the understanding becomes very sharp. It is active learning that makes you think about, organize, and process it. Not only “explaining” the material, but any conversation and discussion with someone about what you have learned is active learning.

Learn by explaining to others (learning by teaching) is an excellent method.

And if you have someone you can discuss the matter or to explain – you won. The problem is that we do not always have a partner to talk to him about what we have learned.

If you have no one to explain, what you have learned, you can explain to yourself. And demonstrate how you implement it. I also spend precious time in traffic jams on the way to University / Work. And usually use this time to listen to lectures and interesting content. I stop the recording from time to time, and explain aloud what I heard.

This method is active learning at its best. Because it makes me pause and think about what I have heard, formulate the ideas in my own words, connect them to my conceptual world, process them.

And as a result I remember much more than I hear. When I’m alone on the way nobody sees me talking to myself, but I do not do it when I’m in the library.

Stand in front of the Mirror and explain the Material to Yourself

In any case, if you study alone at home and want to apply active learning. Then stand in front of the mirror and explain the material to yourself. As crazy as it sounds, it’s enormously helpful.

If you speak to yourself in a voice that disturbs you, explain your ideas in writing . Re-summarize the material, even though you already have a summary. Alternatively, add new lines to your previous summary. If you’ve made your first decision on your computer, re-edit the summary: change order, add new details, and re-insert unstructured sections.

Create a Diagram and Resume

Another idea is to create a diagram and resume something: Organize the material in a new way, create new links that you have not thought of before, and so on.

The principle is not only to listen and read the material, but also to speak or write about it.

Speaking and Writing about the Material

Speaking and writing about the material will make you think deeply about what you have learned and remember it better.

To talk or write the material is the basis. So you can also “do it”: as far as this is relevant. Try to apply what you have learned. Implementing is a key understanding, and it forces you to think deeply and understand what you have learned. For example, if you learned about the structure of the atom. Then build an atom model by your hands from materials you buy at any toy store. Even though it seems to be a childish game. But the benefit is tremendous because it will cause you to think very deeply about the material.

As a result the memory will become stronger. If it is something very abstract like psychoanalytic theories. Then try to apply them by analyzing yourself or characters close to you in light of these theories.

The principle is not only to listen and read the material, but also to talk , write and do it.

Turning information into Knowledge

“Turning information into knowledge” means weaving the many details of the individual information into one big story. The process of transforming information into narrative is an active process that requires time and mental effort. This process includes many thought processes such as organization, classification, synthesis, analysis, comparison evaluation and more. The usefulness of transforming information into knowledge is tremendous.

Turning information into knowledge is a powerful way of actively learning. It makes us think deeply about the material, understand it well. As a result remember it for the long term.


In conclusion, active learning is one of the most powerful learning strategies. Active learning can also be applied to theoretical material. Try it, and you will immediately experience a tremendous improvement in learning. Successfully!


Zubair Ashraf

Blogger, Web Developer, Frontend Designer, Freelancer, Graphics Designer, University Student, Founder of "Easy Hacks For You"… and more of that shortly! Love to read & try new things and help people!

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