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Educators, learners and active learning methodologies

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Picking up from a previous publication in IJLE, the primary objective of this article is to engage in a critical analysis of the concept and practice of 'active' (including 'participatory') learning as well as the usefulness to educators of 'active learning methodologies'. Through a review of relevant literature and research, highlighting problems in theory, and an analysis of examples of active learning in practice, the article addresses a number of issues raised by previous attempts to promote active learning. It argues, in conclusion, that while promoting active learning is generally a good thing, the success of an active learning methodology depends not on methodology alone but, ultimately, on the constantly-evolving, dialectical relationship between methodology and learners, mediated by the educator. Practical implications are that educators need not be over-obsessed about questions of methodology, though it is important to experiment with new methods and make them a constant focus of discussion between educators and learners; further research could focus on the extent to which (and under what circumstances) educators and/or learners might change (or already have changed) their perceptions about different ways of teaching and learning.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Glasgow UK

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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