Active Learning Requires Learning - Not Just Activity

Shannon Butler, Kay C Dee
2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
Does active learning yield better outcomes because of the learning value of the exercises, or because students simply "wake up" and become energized by an activity? To explore this, we compared undergraduate engineering/science students' information recall in three lecture contexts. A pre-recorded lecture was punctuated with a) active learning exercises, b) sessions of light physical activity, or c) no breaks at all. Students who performed active learning exercises had a higher probability of
more » ... er probability of answering exercise-related questions correctly, compared to the other two groups. However, students who performed active learning exercises did not exhibit better recall of information presented immediately after such breaks. Students who performed physical activity showed no difference in recall of information presented immediately after those breaks, compared to the recall of students who took no breaks. Our data suggest that learning value, not simple activity/wakefulness, is the critical element of active learning.
doi:10.18260/1-2--19152 fatcat:jrn4sbzwincuflmk3ruvtcufbq