Active learning is when you do activities, such as reading, writing, discussions or problem solving, which encourage you to analyse, synthesise and evaluate the information being looked at.
Becoming an active learner
To become an active learner, you need to think about the information you are reading or listening to, and do something with what you are learning. This could include:
- Asking questions as you read.
- Make notes in your own words.
- Summarising what you read.
- Talking to someone about the information you're learning. Use your own words to discuss it with other students, friends or your family. (If you don't have a friend who'll listen, try an imaginary friend, or the family pet.)
- Thinking about how the new information fits in with things you already know.
- Thinking about how you can use the new information in your studies and in your everyday life.
How to apply active learning to your studies
- Don't just read your course materials, do all the activities as well.
- Identify the main points in the material you're reading and highlight them or write them down.
- Try different ways of writing notes – on paper or cards, in pictures, perhaps put them into a table, a mind map or a list, or record them.
- Note the things in your course materials that you already know.
- Log onto the online forum for your course regularly. Ask questions and discuss your ideas with your fellow students.
- Think of three or four questions you could ask your lecturer/tutor. Then try to answer them yourself. Imagine you had to set the exam - what questions would you include? How would you answer them?