Activity-based Learning

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Introduction
Activity-based learning evidently has two major components, activities and learning. It is seen as a process where activities play a key role in learning. Activity is defined as an exposure to a situation involving actions and movements. Learning is defined as a process of acquiring knowledge, behavior, skills, values, and preferences. Learning is an experience in which we are continuously engaged in. The process of activity based learning intends to embed activities in the process of learning. Activity based learning is defined as a learning process in which students are constantly meaningfully engaged (Panko et al., 2007). The emphasis of effective learning in a classroom has a significant role in student retention.

As Richard E. Mayer defines, “Learning is the relatively permanent change in a person’s knowledge or behavior due to experience.

Activity Based Learning - Nature Nurture

What is activity-based learning?
Activity-based learning is the process of learning by practically doing. As opposed to asking the learners to simply listen and memorize, activity-based learning encourages students to actively participate in their own learning experience through practically engaging in activities such as independent investigation.

Churchill (2003) propagates that activity-based learning aids students and learners to construct mental models that allows higher-order thinking and performance such as applied problem solving and transfer of information and skills.

Types of Activity Based Learning
Learning is collaborative and co-constructed between the learner and her social environment;

Exploratory Activity based learning: Gathering knowledge and Acquiring skills through exploration and active investigation.

Constructive activity based learning: Gathering experience and constructing knowledge through experience and through creative engagement.

Experimental activity based learning: Gathering knowledge by the method of experimentation with the existing knowledge. Contesting facts and debating

Expressional activity based learning: Expressing the acquired knowledge through presentation.

Examples of Activities for learning

Storyboarding: It is a way of engaging children into the act of creating stories and storyboarding it. In this activity children visually organize the created story in a sequential manner.

Picture Reading: It is a process of reading pictures by giving words to it and building an understanding around it.

Thematic Classroom: It is a process of thematically rearranging a class to enhance the learning of the learners

Why is Activity-based Learning crucial?
Activity-based learning encourages the learners to explore, experiment and learn independently through activity-based techniques. It equips children with skills in problem-solving, critical analysis and creativity.

Activity-based learning is the baseline for the enhancement of creative and critical thinking. The most useful and effective method of teaching complex concepts, is by engaging the learners in interactive activities.

The prominent advantages of activity-based learning:

Motivation: Activity based learning helps in the motivation of the learner as it gives a sense of accomplishment to them while performing each activity. They feel motivated by each of their achievements. This enhances their confidence and self-image.

Memory enhancement: By encouraging the learners to get physically and mentally involved in the learning process, activity-based learning helps students learn, memorize and retain information. This process of gathering knowledge through personal experience helps children to understand and reach the learning objective aimed.

Independence and self-sufficiency: Activity-based learning focuses on independent investigation and analysis. Engaging children independently or in small groups, encourages them to be independently inquisitive, helps them in becoming critical thinkers and also makes them self-sufficient. This self-directed learning process supports their acquisition of knowledge outside as well as inside the educational environment.

Social development: Activity-based learning encourages the learners to take responsibility for their own learning experience. It also involves group-based activities which helps students in developing teamwork and social skills. These skills are essential to them to understand the idea of coexisting.

Continuous engagement: Activity based learning is extremely helpful as it draws the learners attention and keeps them actively involved at every step.

Relevance of educational material: Learning materials are exceptionally relevant. However their relevance is often overlooked by the learners. Activity-based learning gives a new meaning to the learning materials and helps the learners to understand the ‘real-life’ relevance of learning material by encouraging them to explore.

Activity based learning as an expression: Activity-based learning encourages the learners to be creative in expressing their knowledge. This learning method provides students with the opportunity to express knowledge through the act demonstration as well as through the act of verbal presentation.

Knowledge is about attaining information, gaining insight into the existing facts and utilizing it in various forms. Activity based learning expands the horizons of the learners by empowering them to apply the skills and knowledge in their real life and fulfills the core purpose of attaining knowledge.

References
Eriyagama, S. (2018). Activity based teaching methods for better learning in primary mathematics classroom. Retrieved from:
https://www.worldcces.org/article-3-by-eriyagama/use-of-activity-based-teaching-methods-to-create-peaceful-learning-in-primary-mathematics-classrooms

Churchill, D. (2003), Effective design principles for activity-based learning: The crucial role of ‘learning objects’ in science and engineering education. Paper Presented at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic, 2

Panko, M., Kenley, R., Davies, K., Piggot-Irvine, E., Allen, B., Hede, J. & Harfield, T. (2005). Learning styles of those in the building and construction sector. Report for Building Research, New Zealand.

Anwar, F. Activity-Based Teaching, Student Motivation and Academic Achievement. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1216784.pdf

Lippman,P. (2016), What is Activity Based learning. Retrieved from: https://placescreatedforlearning.com/what-is-activity-based-learning/

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