The Social Artist – Active Learning

Active learning, while a contentious term, stands against what Paulo Freire calls the “banking model” of education.  At one time it was enough for the professor to stand at the front of the room and simply lecture at students, trusting that the carefully prepared packages of knowledge were properly transferred to the willing participants.  While there is a level of success that accompanies this type of instruction, other pedagogical practices are changing the focus from the instructor to the learner.  Active learning asks students to become actively engaged through dialogue – dialogue with the instructor during class time, with fellow students both during and after class, with themselves through journaling, and with the larger world through experiential education (including community service-learning and fieldwork). In editing the reflections on active learning I was reminded once again of George Siemens and Stephen Downes theory of Connectivism.  When we encourage active learning, we are pushing students to develop their own connections to people, to ideas, to theorists, to disciplines.  We demystify knowledge, adopting the humility of fellow discoverers and allowing students to find their own significant connection to the material.  Walking along beside students we show how we have adopted the knowledge into our own lives and turn to them to say – Ok, now it’s time to make this your own.

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2 Responses to “The Social Artist – Active Learning”

  1. Neil Haave Says:

    I like the different considerations of what active learning is, and it’s significance to students to take ownership and thus deepen their learning. I think this will make learning last beyond the midterm and info exams after the course is completed because as Doc Larson alludes in the video, once the project or information or assignment becomes theirs (my project, my research) then the students are seeking the educational moments and no longer waiting to receive it from the instructor – they become independent learners! Which I think it the ultimate goal of all education. However, both Jerome and Janet make good points that learning still occurs with traditional lecture. Indeed with my own experience with Tam-Based Learning, there is a place for story -telling, or as Jerome outs it, modeling thinking and analysis. Good instruction will give students the tools to enable them to actively seek what they are researching. Often this comes in the form of lecture or demonstration . There is an article I was made aware of, that I need to track down entitled “A Time for Telling” which makes this case.

  2. Neil Haave Says:

    I found the reference

    A Time for Telling.
    Authors: Schwartz, Daniel L.; Bransford, John D.
    Source: Cognition and Instruction, v16 n4 p475-522 1998
    Peer Reviewed: Yes
    Publication Date: 1998-00-00
    Pub Types: Journal Articles; Reports – Research
    Abstract: Three studies evaluated a method for developing prior-knowledge structures that prepares students to learn from a text or lecture. Findings indicate that there is a place for lectures and readings in the classroom if students have sufficiently differentiated domain knowledge to use the expository materials in a generative manner. (TJQ)

    Sorry for the typos in my previous post – the dangers of posting comments with an iPad or iPhone.

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