Social Media & Active Learners

I’m preparing for a workshop with our English 102 instructors. Part of the workshop will be a brief, live demonstration of the new group approach that we’ve been doing in the classroom and the other part will be a presentation by my colleague Raina Bloom, who piloted this approach. I’ll also give a brief talk on the importance of engaging our students in the classroom through active learning.

Active learning is not a new theory or concept. It is more widely discussed in elementary education. Recently I’ve noticed that it keeps popping up in my professional readings as faculty and librarians seek to engage their students- students who have grown up with the social web.

In this post I’d like to collect research that I’ll refer to during this workshop.

“…I’ve become increasingly dissatisfied with simply delivering a traditional lecture in the classroom. I’m beginning to debate whether or not it’s effective, whether or not it works, whether or not it’s a useful tool or a useful way to engage and create a kind of learning space or a learning environment. They’re active learners, as opposed to passive learners. That one-way flow of content — I don’t know how effective that is anymore.” S. Craig Watkins,

*Students retain only 25% of new knowledge taught in a class.
*It is twice as hard to dispel prior knowledge as compared to learning new knowledge.
*Active learning translates to Responsibility in Learning. Doug Duncan, Clickers and Peer Instruction,

“…most teaching experts in higher education would recommend: Minimize lecturing in order to emphasize active learning strategies…” James M. Lang,

“Learning becomes situated in action; it becomes as much social as cognitive, it is concrete rather than abstract, and it becomes intertwined with judgment and exploration.” Brown, J. (2000). GROWING UP DIGITAL. Change, 32(2).

copyright JSB & SEH

This semester I’ve been showing a YouTube video prior to the start of every class. A Vision of Students Today provides some context to why active learning addresses a piece of the disconnect between lectures, tests, and readings. The video is part of the Digital Ethnography Project at Kansas State University.


One thought on “Social Media & Active Learners

  1. Pingback: Digital Natives? « My So Called Librarian Life

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