Why Active Learning is the Key to Student Success

Written by Dan

Last updated

Active learning refers to a method of instruction in which the learner is actively engaged in the lesson, working and thinking through problems.

Instead of sitting back and listening to lecture-style education, active learning encourages students to participate directly by posing questions and simulations, working in small groups, or otherwise being active.

This can drive positive results in deeper understanding, improved comprehension and retention of the material presented. Traditional methods of instruction typically involve passive engagement, where the students absorb what is taught with little context or participation.

Active learning allows instructors to use different activities such as role-playing, problem-solving and discussions to make a deeper connection between the subject matter and their lives beyond the classroom walls.

Related: For more, check out our article on How Teaching Aids Improve Learning  here.

What Are The Benefits Of Active Learning?

Active learning provides various benefits for students, allowing them to go beyond the basics of knowledge acquisition and truly understand what they’re learning. The most beneficial is improved engagement, as active learning encourages students to take an active role in their education.

Through this hands-on approach, students can concentrate better as they’re actively participating rather than being lectured to. As they delve into problem-solving and critical thinking activities, they’re more apt to stay focused and engaged in their studies.

When applied strategically, these meaningful interactions help increase retention by encouraging a deeper understanding of the material instead of rote memorization.

Furthermore, through project-based assignments and other such activities, classes often seen as monotonous can become exciting and engaging experiences for the students involved.

Active Learning Strategies

Teachers can liven up their classrooms with various creative, active learning strategies. For instance, they can create simulations, role-plays, or scavenger hunts to help students learn in a context that mimics real-world circumstances.

Journals and writing prompts encourage self-reflection and research so students engage in authentic inquiry. Additionally, teachers can design activities that focus on problem-solving or debates.

Regardless of which action is chosen, active learning puts the student at the centre by fostering a sense of curiosity and strengthening their skills, such as collaboration and critical thinking.

Related: For more, check out our article on Where Teaching and Learning Come Together here.

The Challenges Of Active Learning

Active learning effectively engages students and provides them with an understanding of complex topics and ideas. To bring this learning into the classroom, it’s important to incorporate activities requiring active participation from everyone.

Games and simulations can create a fun environment for students to learn while giving instructors a better understanding of how students grasp the material.

Having students work in groups or pairs on projects can foster communication skills and help them work together to build knowledge. Incorporating experiments or demonstrations into lessons is also helpful for making abstract concepts more concrete.

Lastly, using plenty of visuals and other materials, such as videos, can be essential when introducing new content. Applying these tools will make teaching more engaging for instructors and students, creating an atmosphere where everyone is eager to learn.

Active Learning In Primary School

Here are some ways active learning can be used in primary school:

  1. Collaborative Learning: Encouraging students to work together on projects or assignments can help build social skills while supporting academic goals. Teachers might use group discussions or peer-to-peer feedback to promote collaboration.
  2. Inquiry-Based Learning: This approach encourages students to ask questions and explore topics of interest through hands-on activities such as experiments, research projects, or field trips.
  3. Project-Based Learning: This method involves having students work on long-term projects that require them to apply knowledge and skills across multiple subject areas. Projects include creating a model of a historical landmark or developing a solution to an environmental problem.
  4. Flipped Classroom Model: In this model, teachers provide instructional content online for students to review outside of class time, allowing for more interactive and engaging classroom activities during class time, such as problem-solving exercises or group discussions.
  5. Gamification: Incorporating games into lessons can make learning more fun and engaging for students while providing opportunities for assessment and feedback.
  6. Multisensory Learning: Providing multiple ways for students to engage with the material can help cater to different learning styles and preferences, such as using visual aids like diagrams or videos, incorporating music or movement into lessons, or using manipulatives like blocks or puzzles.

Active learning provides many benefits for primary school students by promoting engagement, curiosity, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities. By incorporating these approaches into their teaching strategies, educators can help ensure that all students have access to high-quality educational experiences that meet their needs and interests.

Active learning is a powerful tool that can benefit all students but requires adequate planning and effort. Active learning is “student-centred teaching in which learners engage with content and one another to construct knowledge.”

In contrast, traditional instruction involves the teacher lecturing while students listen and take notes. Active learning has many benefits, including improved engagement and retention among students.

Active learning strategies can be used in any classroom to create an engaging and interactive environment where students can learn effectively. If you’re interested in implementing active learning in your classroom or school, there are some essential things to remember.

First, you must overcome common challenges, such as ensuring all students are engaged and managing class time. However, active learning can be invaluable for student success with proper planning and effort.


Q: What is active learning?

A: Active learning is a teaching approach that engages students in the learning process by encouraging them to participate in their education actively. It involves techniques such as collaborative learning, inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, gamification, and multisensory learning.

Q: Why is active learning meaningful in primary school?

A: Active learning is essential in primary school because it promotes student engagement, curiosity, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities. It can help ensure that all students can access high-quality educational experiences that meet their needs and interests.

Q: How does active learning work in the classroom?

A: In an active classroom, teachers use a variety of instructional strategies such as group discussions, hands-on activities, and technology-based tools. They also regularly assess student progress and adjust their teaching accordingly by modifying lesson plans or providing additional resources or support where necessary.

Q: What are some benefits of using active learning?

A: Some benefits of active learning include increased student engagement, improved academic achievement, more personalized learning experiences, and a more inclusive classroom environment.

Q: Can active learning be used in all subjects?

A: Yes! Active learning can be used in all subjects, including math, science, social studies, language arts, and physical education.

Q: How do teachers implement active learning without overwhelming themselves?

A: Teachers can implement active learning without overwhelming themselves by starting small and gradually building up over time. They might begin by incorporating one or two new techniques into their weekly or monthly lessons. Additionally, professional development opportunities can guide how to incorporate these approaches into their teaching strategies effectively.

Q: Can parents support active learning at home?

A: Yes! Parents can support active learning at home by encouraging their children’s natural curiosity through play-based activities or games that reinforce academic concepts taught in school. They might also ask open-ended questions about what their child is working on in school and encourage them to explore topics outside the classroom.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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