Interactive Learning Is Here

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cute elementary schoolboy using a tablet computer in classroom

Recent advancement in teaching methodology has created a new phenomenon called “interactive learning.”

Although, traditional teaching methods have generally claimed the foreground of the education system, there is a visible notion of change that has created a pathway for “interactive learning” to develop and expand.

Beginning at a young age, students are encouraged to use physical practices of memorization.

“Copy each word five times.”

Often, students are assigned to draft a set of words and definitions a particular number of times. If you’re familiar with the American School System, you probably remember doing this yourself. There is, in fact, no beneficial agenda behind this mundane, repetitive work. The theory remains that the physical movement (writing) enhances recollection, as it begins to include not only your brain but your body, as well.

Although this practice has been in place for countless years, critics of this theory still remain at large.

Interactive learning is more effective than traditional learning. Recent studies and reports support this claim.

An article by Richard E. Mayer[1], “Multimedia learning: Are we asking the right questions?” observes and explores the idea of effective interactive learning. Mayer examines the best way to explain “cause-and-effect systems” to University students – for example: “how a pump works, how the human respiratory system works, or how lightning storms develop.” One idea that he draws upon is “multimedia presentation of explanations in visual and verbal formats.” Mayer illustrates this concept by explaining how a pump works through both visual and verbal representations. He goes on to collect data to support the use of this technique.

In support of the effectiveness of his technique, Mayer finds that students who were shown visual and verbal formats produced “75% more creative solutions on problem-solving transfer tests than did students who received verbal explanations alone”. His next review, including 10 studies, showed a result of “50% more creative solutions to transfer problems when verbal and visual explanations were coordinated (integrated group) than when they were not coordinated (separated group).” His last review also supports these findings, but additionally finds that these effects were most significant on students with “low prior knowledge and high spatial ability”. Mayer’s studies prove that the best way  to explain cause-and-effect to students is through verbal and visual multimedia combination.

Another research study[2], “Boys’ and Girls’ Use of Cognitive Strategy When Learning to Play Video Games” by Fran C. Blumberg and Lori M. Sokol, proposes that children also use a significant amount of cognitive strategies when they interact with media, for example video games. In this study 2nd & 5th grade students were asked what they did to learn the video game that they were provided with. Their responses were recorded as either “external” or “internal,” regarding whether they looked within themselves for answers or sought out other sources for help “(i.e., reading a manual vs. asking for help, respectively)”. Children who played these games more often, as well as older children in general, became more likely to use internal problem-solving skills, supporting the idea that video learning promotes self-sufficiency.

prognariInteractive Learning Is Here

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