A new study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute has revealed that the active engagement of students through interactive activities, discussions, feedback and AI-enhanced technologies results in improved academic performance. The researchers observed that the students found traditional lectures, lessons or readings "quite boring" and enjoy the digital session more. The findings of the study were published in the journal 'Science'. It also found that effective active learning also engages a student with emotional and social support.
According to the research, the initiation of active learning was believed to be early 2000's and was limited to higher studies, however, after the COVID pandemic, it broadly captured all the classes starting from a nursery. As the experience is different, students find digital interaction more convenient and interesting. However, it also observed some students have been facing the negative impact of digital education. Some are facing psychological effects of isolation, restlessness and inattention brought on by quarantine and remote learning, noted the researchers. The researchers said that the pandemic has taught that the traditional approaches to education may not be the best way to learn but raises serious questions about improving the active learning methods. It also asserted for further research on technological advancement in the field of remote learning.
Nesra Yannier, faculty in HCII, and Ken Koedinger, a professor of human-computer communication and psychology, cooperated with researchers at various colleges including Stanford, Harvard and the University of Washington, to review the significant conclusions about active education. "We wanted to see what we learned from teaching and learning during COVID and what could be brought back into the classroom. COVID forced educators to engage students in novel ways, and teachers were experimenting with new technology," Yannier said. The researchers noted that active learning can put students in the driver's seat of their lessons as it encourages students to produce fruitful thoughts. It also emphasised the importance of feedback during online classes.
The author also advocated for incorporating artificial intelligence with digital learning. According to Yannier, it encourages the students to think critically and help them in engaging learning in hands-on activities, while also supporting teachers. "We've done a lot of research around this. If we don't have the AI guidance on, the children are not able to understand the underlying concepts, and the learning doesn't translate into the real world," Yannier noted. "It's quite clear in this collection that even among like-minded folks there are seven or more applications of active learning that work and sometimes they work in contradictory ways."