Expert’s Corner: The truth behind Active Learning & more tips

In my previous post, I have differentiated between passive from active learning. In the recent years, this trend has gotten a lot of attention from both parents and teachers. In today’s blog, I shall try to break down the effectiveness of active learning and offer some more useful tips in incorporating active learning at home and in school.

If you haven’t watched it yet, here it is:

First, let me reiterate that active learning is involving the child in the learning process. It does not refer to any one particular thing. It is a number of activities through which students participate instead of passively listening.

However, not all learning activities automatically improve learning just by virtue of being “active”. In fact, some “active” activities can actually hurt learning. Tons of research about discovery learning has been done for decades.


Discovery learning is where children are free to learn on their own with very little or no guidance at all from adults. While kids are certainly involved in the learning process and are active participants, research shows that discovery learning is not the best method for producing learners.

Instead, guided discovery – where children receive guidance and a somehow a little structure from parents and teachers – produces more learning than pure discovery methods, even though children are more “active” during pure discovery than they are in guided discovery. Hence, research suggests that children need some form of guidance and in some cases can include activities that are less overtly active for children.

Finally, here are some concrete tips for encouraging young minds to be active learners.

First, though, analyze your child. What are his interests? What makes him curious? Then analyze yourself as a parent or teacher. Do you encourage your child to ask questions? Do your children participate in group activities?  Does your child play? Well, given that all these activities “active”.  You have been probably encouraging your child to be an active learner, the following are a few more ideas on how to encourage your child to be an active learner.


Parental Involvement:  get involved with your child in the learning process. Just remember not to take over or take total control over everything. REMEMBER: children learn best through guided discovery.

Get the kids to group together and to ask more questions about how and why things work and how different concepts work together. Encourage your child to find the answers. Give them science kits that provide children to become real researchers and to experiment on their own like the Smart Lab Glow In The Dark Lab and the Purple Cow – Color Laboratory.

Increase attentiveness by including activities that will be enjoyable for children. You can explore the animal kingdom by doing pretend play with the use of Animal Planet different animal figurines. Animal poster making can be done too with the use of Crayola Washable Paints and Markers.

To learn more about this and some more tips on what to do if your child is a passive learner, watch my videos in Facebook or Youtube, leave a comment below, or email me at!


Got questions for Teacher Raissa about active vs passive learning, child development and milestones? Leave a comment below or send us a message at ogalalaexpert [at]

Teacher Raissa is a teacher by day and Crayola addict 24/7! She absolutely adores children and has been working (and playing!) with them for the last 9 years. She teaches math, is a homeroom adviser to adorable Preschoolers, and believes in learning through play.

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