The Role of Active Learning in Today's Schools
The 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Focus on Education, cautioned that much of nursing education failed to prepare students with critical decision-making skills that are integral to improving patient care in the evolving, complex healthcare setting. Instead, educators frequently focused solely on student memorization of acute nursing terms and concepts. The IOM committee recommended overhauling nursing curricula to educate students in new ways that mirror improvements in science and technology.
New research from Brigham Young University echoes this sentiment and confirms widely supported modern education theory that “the key to improving learning outcomes is to involve students actively in the learning process,” also called active learning. Active learning is defined as the process whereby students engage in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion or problem solving, that promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content.
In the last 25 years, instructors have shifted to this student-centered approach to instruction. A 2013-2014 survey of faculty by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies revealed that more than 80 percent of faculty surveyed now use class discussions, and just half use lectures in all or most of their courses, down from 55.7 percent in 1989-90,4 instead shifting to more interactive learning approaches.