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The Power of Active Learning: Definition, Defense, and Implementation

The Power of Active Learning: Definition, Defense, and Implementation
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Author(s): Virginia A. Taylor (William Paterson University, USA)
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 3
Source title: Managing Information Technology in a Global Economy
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-07-5.ch103

Abstract

Today, some faculty members are trying to show students how to learn, not just teach them the subject matter. These faculty members believe that the acquisition of life-long learning skills will enhance a student’s intellectual growth well beyond the semester’s coursework. A typical active learning approach emphasizes the students’ role in constructing knowledge by engaging in inquiry, critical thinking, and problem solving. The first part of this paper discusses what active learning is and why it is desirable; the second part suggests pedagogical techniques, teaching holes (Fredrick, 1987), problem-based learning (Gallagher, 1997), and case project (Taylor 2000) for implementation. Although there is often a linkage of the concept of active leaning and the use of group assignments, this teaching approach to learning can be accomplished using either individual or group assignments and exercises Both independent and group active learning assignments provide an opportunity to challenge our students to harness the power of information technology as they seek information and acquire knowledge on a 24 hour / 7 day basis. When learning is anchored to real-world contexts students learn to apply textbook knowledge to specific professional situations. Common features of this pproach can be applied to many different disciplines. Communication skills are strengthened, as are skills in teamwork, presentation technology, and information seeking and analysis. The ability to acquire, create, and share knowledge continues to be an essential professional tool in the 21st century’s knowledge based economy (Tissen, Deprez & Andriessen, 1998), as well as an important element of organizational success ( Malhotra, 2000; Stewart, 1997), and national competitive advantage (Porter, 1990).

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