Important Passive learning 2023 - educationtopstories

Important Passive learning 2023

Passive learning

With minimal opportunity for two-way communication, passive learning relies on information being sent from a teacher to a pupil. The student is seen as ‘passive’ rather than ‘active’ since they must assimilate knowledge rather than apply it.

It is frequently believed that in passive learning, students don’t engage with the teacher or the subject matter. Even while passive learners must initially pay attention to the teacher, there is still opportunity for inquiries about what they are learning.

By explaining and demonstrating the information to the students, knowledge is transmitted. Knowledge cannot be created, experienced, or discovered. The instructor takes the stage, while the pupils pick up the information by listening.

Passive learning
Passive learning


Examples of passive learning

The term “passive learning” describes the process of gaining knowledge or abilities without actively participating in activities that demand a lot of cognitive work or engagement. Instead of engaging directly, it frequently entails learning through exposure or observation. Examples of passive learning include the following:

Watching Educational Videos:


The act of passively absorbing information via online tutorials, lectures, or films on a range of topics.

Listening to podcasts:


Turning on podcasts that cover topics you’re interested in and taking in knowledge passively through aural means.

Reading Books:


acquiring knowledge via reading books, articles, or other written materials without necessarily applying or debating the knowledge in a practical setting.

Sitting through lectures or seminars without actively engaging in discussions or offering questions.

Background Information Listening:


Hearing news updates, overheard conversations, or ambient media while passively absorbing information from your surrounds.

Viewing Art or exhibits:
Passive learning
Passive learning


Visiting art museums, galleries, or exhibits to take in various types of art, history, or cultural knowledge.

Scrolling Through Social Media:


Reading through social media feeds to get information, albeit this can be risky as not all of the data provided on social media is reliable or well-researched.

Watching TV shows and films:



By watching TV shows or films that contain these components, you may learn about various cultures, historical events, or even scientific principles.

Keeping educational audio or video content playing in the background while performing other activities, such as cooking while listening to a language-learning podcast.


Being around people who speak the language you wish to learn without making a conscious effort to acquire it is known as passive language exposure. Over time, language acquisition may benefit from this exposure.

Listening to talk radio or news broadcasts, when information is delivered and you merely take it in, is known as radio broadcasting.

Watching how-to videos:

Watching instructional films on how to complete tasks, such as DIY home improvement projects or cooking recipes, even if you don’t immediately intend to carry them out.

Despite the fact that passive learning may be a beneficial addition to active learning, it frequently falls short in terms of critical thinking and depth of engagement compared to actively engaging in debates, problem-solving, and hands-on activities. Both should be used in tandem for thorough learning.

Why is passive learning a valid and important way of learning?


Not only is passive learning vital, but when we study knowledge via technology, we are more likely to become a passive learner. Let’s examine the various applications of passive learning:

Passive learning
Passive learning

direct guidance

The message that the flight crew on aeroplanes delivers on flight safety is a good illustration of direct instruction. The usage of the life jackets and seat belts is shown to the passengers by a crew member who is positioned at the front of the aircraft. All of the travellers sit and gaze. The displays that are mounted to the back of the chairs may also display a similar instruction.

Teachers must demonstrate what they are required to teach. Usually referred to as the lesson plan’s teaching and modelling component.

In accordance with the 80/20 rule, this portion may not take up more than 20% of the total class time.

To keep the entire class focused on a single subject and connect all the supplementary material, teachers must give clear instructions.

Early language acquisition

Early language development in children is entirely accomplished via listening and observing. Even for adults, seeing people speak the language you want to learn is a useful approach to acquire it. The traditional method of learning languages (or anything else) has never been to sit by yourself with a dictionary filled with unfamiliar terms.

Watching television is also seen as passive learning about social mores, products we should buy, and other topics.

Children who are exposed to television shows also pick up new words and phrases by watching TV.

acquiring an accent

We also pick up on our regional accent through face-to-face interactions. It is commonly known that South Asian nationals’ English accents differ from those of South East Asian nations. Therefore, despite the fact that we live near to one another, there are significant linguistic differences between us.

It is also noteworthy that if we spend enough time among people with accents from various cultures, we could develop accents that are identical to that of the locals. This entire process is the result of passive learning.

school-style instruction


One-way communication is the foundation of university-style education, with teachers using a board or projector to explain complicated topics to students. This approach closely resembles the Socratic technique of speaking in ancient Greece, which was a common manner for religious or academic leaders to deliver lectures for centuries.

Although they do have the opportunity to interrupt and ask questions, most pupils are concentrated on passively absorbing the contents. Professors may use clickers during class discussions, online involvement, or participation ratings to encourage students to participate in their classes.

Podcasts and postings on social media

Passive learning
Passive learning

Podcasts have always been a fantastic platform for discussing local problems like politics, culture, religion, or current events in the entertainment industry.

Overall, podcasters have attracted a sizable community of listeners and learners.

Posts on social media are essentially passive learning. We do have the opportunity to hit like and leave comments, but because of how we get our information, we are only spectators as others express their opinions. In reality, one of the most discussed and least studied subjects for instructional designers is social learning.

Vlogs, DIYs, and learn-about-anything videos

The films that depict individuals travelling, hiking, swimming, sailing, and bicycling throughout the globe are the most striking examples of how the internet age has democratised learning. A video series of one’s life may be posted by anybody, making us spectators of the knowledge of a world we haven’t yet seen.

Online videos comprise a significant portion of DIY videos. Online videos may help you with tasks like organising a move-out sale, building a sofa or fixing a tap.

The innovative method of remote learning is known as learn-about-anything. You may study Mandarin, get an introduction to machine learning, or learn about data science with these short courses. Many of these courses were created by academic institutions, industry experts, and universities.

The use of technology in education is founded on passive learning. Recent developments in AI-based learning have changed passive learning into adaptive learning, but there are still many unknowns regarding the cost, implementation, and effectiveness of these technologies in the absence of a human instructor.

Reading books and ebooks

Reading books has always been a popular way to learn. Although ebooks have emerged as a different reading format, books have always been important for education.

Knowledge has been transmitted from one civilization to another through writing. We will probably always require the written word in some form to preserve information, whether it be in the form of Mesopotamian Cuneiform, ancient Greek manuscripts, Arabic writing, or modern European literature.

The amount of knowledge available to students through libraries, whether physical or digital, is enormous. Textbooks might be thought of as passive, yet their value shouldn’t be overlooked because it makes learning seem more active.
Reading a book not only activates our brains more than any other activity, but it also fosters empathy for other people and cultures, according to several studies. Reading also makes us more tolerant and perceptive.

Social learning through observation


Another method of learning how to behave through observation outside literature is through direct observation.

One of the most fundamental ways that people learn is via observation. Watching someone else perform the series of activities required to carry out a certain behaviour is much more effective and instructive than reading about how to do it. D. Cornell

Based on outstanding social behaviour research conducted by Bandura in 1977, the following fundamental principles underlie observational learning:

The first essential component is attentiveness. If an observer is not genuinely paying attention, they cannot learn.

Retention: Retention entails committing the observation to memory.

Reproduction: Reproduction is the ability of the observer to repeat the behaviour that was seen.

Motivation: Lastly, a behaviour won’t be repeated if there is no incentive to engage in it.

Passive learning is a form of social learning that occurs via observation.

Places of employment: New hires are taught the unwritten norms of the workplace. Where should the documentation be kept, where does everyone go to take a break, where is the designated area, etc.

Cooking programmes: Watching professional chefs prepare layered chocolate ganache or spaghetti with a Mediterranean sauce on cooking shows is a terrific experience. These displays not only tempt our taste senses, but they also strongly instill in us the urge to imitate what we just watched!

Cultural practises: Another technique to observe passive learning in action is through cultural practises. Passive learning is to blame if you notice some fans in the crowd at football championships wearing the traditional Qatari thobe.

Let’s now examine some of the drawbacks of passive learning!

Disadvantages of passive learning and how to overcome them

The term “passive learning” describes the one-sided process of learning when the student mostly receives information rather than actively participating in it. Although passive learning offers advantages, it also has a number of drawbacks. Here are some of them and some tips for overcoming them:

  • With passive learning, the homework or tasks may be improved with feedback. In order to address the issues of additional help needed by certain or all pupils, a feedback loop can direct the teachers.
  • Students frequently don’t get personalised help. To overcome this drawback, profit from an active learning technique, and concentrate on different types of learning, specific learner requirements may be identified and met.
  • A passive strategy suggests that there is only one real or correct method to learn. The lesson plan’s instructional section alludes to it. By making sure that the group work and conversation make learning more open ended, this drawback may be solved.

Limited participation:


Limited active participation during passive learning might result in diminished attention, interest, and understanding. Effective learning may be hampered by learners who get bored or uninterested.

Passive learning
Passive learning

To overcome, include interactive components like conversations, group activities, debates, and hands-on projects. Encourage active involvement. Encourage students to discuss their opinions, pose questions, and relate the lessons to their own experiences.

Shallow Understanding:

Passive learning typically excludes problem-solving and critical thinking, thus students may only be able to absorb topics on the surface level.

Overcome: Promote critical thinking by posing open-ended inquiries that invite review and analysis. Give actual situations where using the knowledge gained to handle issues is necessary. Include case studies or simulations that urge students to exercise critical thought.

Lack of recall:


Since learners may not actively absorb or engage with the content, passively receiving knowledge might eventually result in poor memory recall.

Utilise active recall strategies, such as quizzes, flashcards, and self-testing, to overcome. Encourage students to summarise or impart the knowledge to others because doing so improves understanding and memory.

Limited Skill Development:


Passive learning frequently discourages the application of theoretical information or the development of practical abilities.

Overcome: Include practical activities, role-playing, simulations, or hands-on experiences that enable students to apply abstract ideas to actual contexts. Give students the chance to demonstrate their abilities through projects or presentations.

Lack of Motivation:

Learners may lose motivation or engagement if they do not actively participate in or have a feeling of ownership over the learning process.

Overcome: Establish precise learning objectives and goals, and describe how the content relates to the learners’ personal and professional ambitions. To accommodate varied learning preferences, provide a choice of material types, including books, interactive modules, and videos.

Passive Consumption:

Passive learning can result in a way of thinking when information is only consumed without any effort being made to learn more or investigate related subjects.

Overcome: Promote curiosity and independent learning by offering further information, suggested books, or relevant subjects to research. Encourage the utilisation of other materials including publications, podcasts, online courses, and books.

Limited Interpersonal Skills:

Opportunities for social engagement and teamwork, which are crucial for building interpersonal skills, are frequently absent from passive learning.

Avoid: Encourage interpersonal communication, teamwork, and negotiating skills by including group discussions, team projects, peer reviews, and joint activities.

The drawbacks of passive learning can be mitigated by implementing active learning techniques and developing a stimulating learning environment. A well-rounded and successful learning experience may be achieved by balancing passive and active learning strategies.

Advantages of passive learning

When someone learns anything passively, they do it without actively participating in the learning process. There can be benefits to passive learning in specific circumstances, even though active learning techniques like dialogues, problem-solving, and hands-on activities are often more beneficial for deep comprehension and retention:

Low Cognitive Load:

When compared to active learning approaches, passive learning techniques like viewing presentations or listening to lectures take less mental work. When you’re attempting to gain a fundamental knowledge or overview of a subject without delving into minute details, this might be helpful.


Watching lectures or watching videos while multitasking, including during a commute or domestic tasks, can make passive learning more time-efficient. This enables you to take in knowledge without setting up concentrated time.

Exposure to New Ideas:


Passive learning techniques can introduce you to novel theories, thoughts, and viewpoints that you might not otherwise come across. This can be very beneficial for arousing interest and promoting further study.

Initial Exposure:


When you’re absolutely unfamiliar with a subject, passive learning techniques might provide you an initial exposure that acquaints you with important terminology, concepts, and fundamental information. As a result, further active learning may be more successful since you will have a foundational understanding to work from.

Background noise:

In some circumstances with background noise, some people find it easier to focus. In these circumstances, passive learning techniques like listening to audiobooks or podcasts might aid in creating a favourable learning environment.



Passive learning can be used as a review or reinforcement method. Passively hearing about comparable material after actively learning about a subject might help you remember and solidify your comprehension.

Limited Physical Activity:

Passive learning techniques can be a means to continue learning without the requirement for active movement or involvement in circumstances when physical activity is restricted, such as during the rehabilitation from an accident.

Active learning sessions can be prepared for by using passive learning as a basis. For instance, you may view a video lecture without actively participating before participating in a conversation or problem-solving session about the same subject.

It’s crucial to highlight that while passive learning has its benefits, it is less efficient for in-depth comprehension, critical thinking, and long-term retention than active learning.

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