Research from Harvard University finds what students feel works in the classroom doesn't necessarily line up with what actually does, as demonstrated by their belief that they learn more from lectures despite assessment results showing active learning methods are more effective, Edutopia reports.
The study divided classes in half, with one group taught through active learning methods and the other through lectures. The groups were then flipped, and when students were asked which approach they found more effective, most chose the lecture model despite active learning producing better academic results.
Because of this perception, Edutopia Research and Standards Editor Youki Terada suggests educators try to persuade students of active learning's benefits to them and their educations, guiding the development of metacognitive skills while explaining that education is rarely a straight-forward process and that struggle can be productive.
Learning is often a messy process. Rarely are students taught something once and able to embed that knowledge immediately. Instead, gaining an education is a back-and-forth process where mistakes are made and ideas argued. Active learning embodies this style of education, where students are as heavily involved in the teaching process as their educators.
This style of learning isn't comfortable for everyone, with some believing it’s also less effective. But with studies showing the opposite, educators and administrators may need to add an extra step into curriculum to get pupils onboard.
Simply telling students active learning is a better style is likely not the best approach. Instead, involving them in the process of, for example, planning some of the classroom activities may help amplify their excitement from the start. Tapping students to have some ownership in the learning process may ultimately boost their overall feeling about the material and learning approach. When they are allowed to make choices, they “see a course as more valuable and more directly related to their goals,” according to Stanford University’s Teaching Commons.