Use effective learning methods

What Active Learning is and what methods are available.

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Written by Dominik
Updated over a week ago

Research has shown that methods are only effective if learners have to do something themselves (i.e. actively). This is called active learning and is explained below using two specific methods.

Active learning methods

Active learning is a didactic principle that encourages the participation and active involvement of learners in the learning process. The focus here is on the independent acquisition of knowledge and the application of what has been learned in practical situations.

In contrast to traditional knowledge transfer, where learners predominantly absorb information passively, active learning encourages independent thinking, discussion and problem-solving - i.e. letting learners learn.

4 professional tips for active learning

1. arouse curiosity and activate the learners

Create short queries using task or survey cards, incorporate surprise effects, interesting images or facts relevant to the content:

2. activate existing knowledge

  • To get started, use task cards to check what your learners already know:
    For example. B. Review with the Task: Multiple Choice card:

    For example. E.g. repetition with the card Task: Cloze text - selection:

  • Refer to what you have already learned and build on it. In ovos play, for example, this is possible using the glossary function, which you can use to explain technical terms, foreign words, etc. in more detail:

  • Or add recommendations for previously learned content after the deck. This allows learners to refresh their knowledge:

More information:

3. establish a link between the learning content and the reality of the learners' lives

  • Create links to everyday life.

  • Show the concrete benefit for the learner β†’ Why is this information important for me?


It is known from neurodidactics that new content is learned more easily if it is linked to existing knowledge and has a concrete benefit for the learner. This is because the brain checks in advance which information appears important and whether it is relevant enough to retain. (9)

4. Let your learners discuss and reflect

  • By actively discussing with each other, learners engage with the knowledge content and can share their knowledge and find solutions together, for example.

  • When learners evaluate and assess themselves, they can actively control their learning process:

Use the Live feature to make presentations and learning content interactive. With the active learning methods Peer Instruction and Think-Pair-Share listed below, knowledge content can be consolidated using a learner-oriented approach.

Peer Instruction

Peer instruction is a learner-oriented approach that prevents comprehension difficulties for learners. The idea behind it: It is about seeing where learners have formed false concepts and deconstructing them.

You can therefore use this method if you want to ensure that your learners have really understood a certain subject matter. The aim here is to understand concepts - i.e. not to test factual knowledge but to ensure a deeper understanding.

Learners try to convince each other of the correct answer to a certain question - i.e. they should be able to justify why their answer should be the correct one. In this way, they also actively engage with the learning material. At the same time, the teacher gains an insight into how well knowledge content has been understood.


Peer instruction is suitable for smaller learning groups, but also very good for larger groups, such as in a lecture. If you are holding an online meeting, you can hold the discussion in small groups in breakout sessions (= one separate online room per group). In one-to-one lessons, you can let the learner give reasons on their own and then discuss them together.


  1. Provide learning input

  2. Set task

  3. Give reasons in the small group

  4. Set the same task again

  5. Closing words of the speaker(s)

Duration: 5-10 minutes

And this is how it works:

Give a maximum of 20 minutes input (attention span) on a new topic.

Ask a question via live voting. This must not be a pure knowledge question, but should stimulate discussion (concept task). The correct answer must not be visible to the learners.

The Task: Multiple Choice or Task: Single Choice card is suitable for this. The result must then not be shown, as the learners should convince themselves of their supposedly correct answers.

  1. If less than 30% gave the correct answer: Ask the learners why they gave this answer - if necessary, revisit the topic.

  2. If 30-80% have given the correct answer, the learners look for people who disagree and try to convince them of the correct answer within a few minutes, i.e. also justify their views β†’ peer instruction.

  3. This is followed by another vote - the results are now usually much better. If more than 80% have answered correctly, the learning content can be deepened further or the next topic can be moved on to. Nevertheless, have the learners visualize the reasons again in the plenary.

Suitable example of peer instruction (concept task):

Not a suitable example of peer instruction:


The think-pair-share principle promotes collaborative learning. Learners can actively shape their learning process by working together, sharing their thoughts on a topic and finding answers and/or solutions together.

The method works with any group size and with any topic.

And this is how it works:

  1. Give your learner group a task in written form.

  2. First, each person thinks for themselves (think).

  3. They then discuss their findings in pairs or small groups (pair).

  4. The entire group then discusses their findings in plenary (share).

Learners can use this method to:

  • Think individually about learning content

  • share their ideas, even if they are rather reserved

  • actively engage with the content

  • and thus understand and remember the content better

More information:


Bonwell, C.; Eison, J. (1991). Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. AEHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, D.C.: Jossey-Bass.
Mazur, Eric (2017). Peer Instruction: Interaktive Lehre praktisch umgesetzt.

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