December 5, 2023

Active learning in online education

There are several benefits to using active learning techniques in online education, including improved student engagement and performance, higher teacher satisfaction, and improved institutional reputation. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of active learning in online education and how to transition from lecture-based courses to active learning courses.

What is active learning?

Active learning is an educational approach where students actively participate in the learning process. It differs significantly from lecture-based learning because active learning encourages students to shape their own learning experience and apply concepts as they learn them. As a result, active learning facilitates more meaningful critical thinking and understanding of information for students, while offering more interactive activities than lecture-based courses. In particular, active learning strategies are perfectly suited to online learning environments, as interactive technologies and other digital resources create immersive yet structured experiences between teachers and students. As such, the shift from lecture-based courses to active learning courses will greatly benefit the student experience, while also opening up possibilities for how knowledge is delivered in a given course.

Benefits of using active learning

Active learning in online education creates a better learning experience for students through better engagement, higher satisfaction and higher participation rates. This enhanced student engagement improves understanding of topics, leading to better knowledge retention and better learning outcomes. As a result, faculty productivity increases through improved grading accuracy as well as the ability to better engage in teaching rather than lecturing. Ultimately, moving from lecture-based courses to active learning courses will improve the overall learning experience.

Transition from lecture-based courses to active learning

Faculty development training is a necessary first step for faculty who intend to transition their lecture courses to an active learning approach. Training can take place individually or in groups to ensure that teachers are adequately prepared to facilitate active learning. During these trainings, teachers experienced in teaching online courses can present basic concepts such as best practices for course delivery approaches for engaging students in online discussions and examples of active learning activities in the classroom. In addition, faculty can review case studies of successful implementations of this approach at various institutions. Adopting effective instructional strategies for online contexts is critical to creating successful and impactful learning experiences that serve students beyond the classroom environment.

Successful implementation of active learning in online education

Active learning has revolutionized the way courses are offered in online education. Active learning tasks and activities allow students to better understand the material by engaging in hands-on activities instead of passively listening to lectures. Active learning strategies also help create opportunities for collaboration as students can engage with each other, discuss concepts, and contribute answers that others may not have considered.

As an example of successful implementation, many educators now use virtual breakout rooms for small group discussions, enabled by online conferencing software. Active learning exercises such as role plays, debates and simulations work well on web conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In addition, instructors use online games, e-learning modules, and other interactive activities to motivate students to think critically and apply knowledge from lectures. Active learning, as implemented in online education, engages students by making classes more enjoyable and less overwhelming.


Transforming lecture-based courses into active learning courses effectively improves the overall online learning experience. In active learning, students are more engaged because they can learn by actively participating in discussion forums and practical tasks. Educators can ensure quality assurance and the best delivery of online learning by providing an interactive environment that encourages active participation. In addition, an active learning environment provides a better learning experience by increasing student engagement and motivation, which in turn improves learning outcomes.

This article offers a comprehensive guide to making a smooth transition from lecture-based courses to active learning courses for optimal user satisfaction and learning outcomes. Active learning is a powerful tool that can engage students and improve outcomes in online education. Although the transition from lecture-based to active learning courses can seem daunting, many resources and support systems can help faculty make the change. With careful planning and execution, active learning can be successfully implemented in online education, resulting in improved student engagement and satisfaction and increased faculty productivity.

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