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Important Interactive Methods 2023

Interactive Methods

Since Bonwell and Eison’s landmark study from 1991, “active learning” has gained popularity in the field of teaching and learning research. But the expression might be deceptive. Every time someone learns something, they have engaged in some sort of activity—perhaps not physically, but definitely psychologically.

Therefore, there is no such thing as “passive learning.” Physical and social activity, however, frequently corresponds with mental activity as interrelated processes and can therefore support learning (Zakrajsek, 2016).

A better word may be “interactive learning,” which includes all strategies for assisting students in actively engaging with the topic while interacting with both the instructor and their classmates. Interactive Methods

The Case for Interactive Methods
Interactive Methods
Interactive Methods

There are numerous advantages of interactive learning for pupils. An annotated bibliography on interactive learning can be found here. The collaborative approaches used in most professions and professional academia are more closely aligned with group work, which is a common component of interactive learning.

Interactive approaches are regularly linked to better student outcomes, including increased attention, interest in the subject matter, and pleasure (Bligh, 2000; Burrowes, 2003; Sivan et al., 2000). Interactive Methods

Additionally, interactive classrooms do higher on student learning evaluations. According to a meta-analysis, student exam results increased by roughly 6% in STEM courses that used “active learning,” broadly construed (Freeman et al., 2014). Interactive Methods

Along with improved retention, interactive classes outperform lecture-only classes on Bloom’s Taxonomy’s higher-order learning measures including analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Garside, 1996).

Additionally, interactive learning is a crucial component of inclusive teaching since it is linked to better learning for students who are normally at risk, such as minorities and first-generation college students (Handelsman, et al, 2007).

Students may at first object to interactive teaching techniques. Students’ reluctance to interactive learning may be influenced by a variety of factors, including a lack of experience with it, the increased work expected of them, and the perception that the instructor is giving up the “teacher” role.

As a result, it is crucial for teachers to discuss the benefits of interactive learning in general (such as the ones listed above). Additionally, educators should specify the rationales. Interactive Methods

Provided they have carefully chosen techniques that are suited to learning objectives and students’ skills, instructors should also explain the precise justifications for each interactive learning exercise (Felder, 2011).


Strategies for Interactive Learning


The only limitations for interactive learning strategies are likely those of imagination and resources. In contrast to the conventional lecture, a handful of the most popular interactive learning techniques are listed below, arranged from less-intensive to more-intensive. See these Active Learning Cards from Cal State LA for some additional ideas on interactive learning. Interactive Methods


Interactive Methods
Interactive Methods

Although “lecture only” classrooms are frequently compared to interactive techniques, lecturing itself can be an engaging interactive activity, as anybody who has excitedly shared a TED Talk knows.

When a lecturer carefully links new material to students’ prior knowledge and significant human experience, as well as when the teacher purposefully piques students’ curiosity and imagination through the use of narrative structures—setting up conflict or tension, followed by resolution—learning is more likely to occur. Interactive Methods

Such methods ought to be genuinely derived from the issues or issues that are inherent in the subject matter itself rather than devolving into amusement. By halting lectures and encouraging students to ask clarifying questions, instructors can also quickly introduce a more deliberate interactive component .

Short Writing Practices

Some interactive techniques need little preparation and execution time. Even though they are a type of formative assessment, short writing assignments can aid students in reviewing, comprehending, and applying the content.

Different levels of thought can be targeted by these exercises. For instance, asking students to identify specifics from a prior lecture reinforces fundamental knowledge; asking them to explain a key idea in their own words improves comprehension; and asking them to apply what they have learned to a fresh circumstance all help students understand the material better. Interactive Methods


Think-Pair-Share is a different interactive strategy that is rather basic. The teacher poses a topic or problem, then instructs the class to consider (and typically write) separately their response(s), along with justification and supporting data.

The lecturer next has the class pair up to have a discussion about their responses while modeling polite questioning and constructive criticism. The class then hears the students’ insights, both individually and as a result of the paired discussions, with the lecturer encouraging more discussion and criticism.


One way to think of “Think-Pair-Share” is as a blend of talk and concise writing. In an interactive classroom, discussion can be used in a variety of ways, such as by students speaking in pairs or small groups or by the entire class participating in one conversation. Similarly, conversation can take the form of quick asides or the entire schedule. Interactive Methods

The instructor may participate in the debate more or less, depending on the pedagogical objectives. However, debates should aim to encourage the unrestricted exchange of ideas while building and evaluating cases using logic and evidence as a type of interactive learning.


Interactive Methods
Interactive Methods

Similar to discussion, debate strives to encourage students to communicate their ideas to one another and to evaluate those of others. When the instructor wants the class to learn and value viewpoints that they may not personally believe, debate can be very beneficial.

Debate is inherently competitive and tends to mask the similarities of opposing ideas, in contrast to conversation, which frequently aims for consensus. Teachers need to be conscious that discussion can promote a conflict attitude and give the appearance that complicated issues are binary choices. Interactive Methods

Issue-Based Education

For both students and instructors, problem-based learning is a hard but rewarding interactive technique. Many alternative approaches start with a presentation of the information before asking the students to use their discrete knowledge to solve a specific issue or topic.

However, problem-based learning starts with an open-ended, typically authentic (i.e., “real-world”) problem and asks students (often in groups) to identify what they already know and what they need to know to solve the problem, decide how to acquire the necessary knowledge, form hypotheses, conduct studies, or conduct experiments, come up with a solution, and report their findings.

The key benefit of this strategy, which is based on the idea that open-ended inquiry boosts student motivation, is that newly acquired knowledge is used right away in a meaningful context. Interactive Methods

Instructor Role in Interactive Classrooms

Interactive Methods
Interactive Methods

In an interactive classroom, the teacher frequently takes on a less outwardly dominant position. This has been referred to by some supporters as a transition from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side.” However, this might be oversimplified. The same way that mastery of “lower order” thinking builds upon “higher order” thinking, interactive learning needs to be backed by strong academic authority.


Similar to how too much student autonomy can lead to uncertainty and lower motivation, even if the collaborative character of many interactive approaches can improve student motivation. Practically speaking, this can entail delivering “just-in-time” mini-lectures when students are having trouble understanding fundamental terms or ideas.

Unless the instructor has legitimate pedagogical reasons for not doing so, the instructor should also make it clear early on in the course that he or she welcomes and can respond to urgent queries. Interactive Methods

Early on in the course, the teacher should also let students know that they are welcome to ask urgent questions and that they will be appropriately answered—unless there are good pedagogical grounds for not doing so, in which case they should be made clear to the students.
To put it simply, a teacher who uses interactive methods must strike a balance between independence and support, as well as be adaptable and skilled in a variety of teaching techniques (Wijnia et al., 2011).

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