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Active Learning

Active learning includes any type of instructional activity that engages students in learning, beyond listening, reading, and memorizing.


Academic Benefits

The academic advantages for collaborative/cooperative learning include empowerment and feedback. These learning methods require students to take ownership of the learning material and thus their learning outcome (Palmer, Peters, and Streetman, 2003).  These methods often prompt students to think critically about related issues during group work. Since there are more exchanges among students in small groups, students receive more personal feedback about their ideas and responses (Palmer, Peters, and Streetman, 2003). 

Students also tend to be inspired by instructors who take the time to plan activities which promote an encouraging environment (Janke, 1980). Receiving encouragement in a cooperative setting from both the instructor and peers helps to develop higher student self-efficacy, or the ability of one to complete a goal or task (Palmer, Peters, and Streetman, 2003).  The greater the self-efficacy, the more likely student grades will increase.  Research indicates that students taught using cooperative methods learned and retained significantly more information than students being taught by other methods (Palmer, Peters, and Streetman, 2003). 

Social Benefits

One of the social benefits of collaborative/cooperative learning is the ability for students to work with diverse individuals (Palmer, Peters, and Streetman, 2003). Students not only reflect on the experiences and opportunities of fellow group members, but they also share their own experiences and opportunities.  Such dialogue helps students better understand other cultures and points of view, circumstances more prevalent in online learning than on-campus classes (Palmer, Peters, and Streetman, 2003).

Collaborative/cooperative learning promotes social interactions; thus students benefit in a number of ways from the social perspective. Guinevere Palmer, Rachel Peters, and Rebecca Streetman (2003) explain that when students explain their reasoning and conclusions, they strengthen their oral communication skills. Such skills not only hone student social behavior in class, but also prepare them for the communication skills necessary for success in the workforce

Psychological Benefits

David and Roger Johnson (1989) assert cooperative learning experiences promote more positive attitudes toward learning and instruction than other teaching methodologies. The reason for this is that students play an active role in the learning process; student satisfaction with the learning experience is enhanced (Palmer, Peters, and Streetman, 2003). 

Taiwanese researcher, Chia-Wen Tsai, applied both self-regulated learning and collaborative learning with instructor intervention in four blended computing courses comprised on 221 students (2011, pg.505).  The results of this study show that students who received collaborative learning in three out of four classes had significantly better learning effects than that which received traditional lecture.