New active learning strategies to keep students engaged

Schools are changing and it is impossible to resist the change. The approach of teaching to real life is being implemented in methodological activities. In reality, this has been practiced in “alternative schools” for decades, but now they are becoming a major part in all centers.  It is these pedagogical practices in which the teacher converts the teaching process to activities that encourage active student participation. These activities make students critically analyze data and use their previous knowledge to reach the answers.

Teacher-centered teaching was created in contexts of the past and is focused on obsolete objectives. Therefore, it doesn’t conform to the goals and searches pursued by the current educational system.

Here we present the methodologies that are currently being implemented frequently in classrooms where it has taken the awareness of the importance of having active students. Some methodologies below include an Elesapiens’ resource as example.

Flipped learning

Inverse Classroom or Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which the theory and materials of learning are explored outside the classroom. Thus, time inside the classroom can be dedicated to understanding through discussions with classmates and problem solving activities facilitated by teachers. In this way, teachers have more time to explore different methods, students become protagonists in their own learning, and classrooms maximise their teacher-student interaction.

Example: The Earth Moves

Once the content of this video is assimilated by each student individually, a debate or a question and answer session can be started in class.

Project Based Learning 

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching-learning methodology in which students acquire the role of creators of a final project, while the teacher guides them through the steps of building the project. It is usually carried out in small groups, although it can also be done by individuals. A project is authentic and motivating when it is linked to the real world and the students’ interests.


Gamification consists of applying game elements (such as levels, progress mechanisms, scores, etc.) to different areas with the aim of making tasks more stimulating and engaging. The introduction of games to classrooms has improved the performance, concentration, and effort of the students because it offers a safe environment in which errors can always be corrected in a second attempt. Every time a challenge is successfully overcome, any kind of positive feedback can help motivate students to continue to overcome challenges.

Example: Moleculizator

An interactive game that initiates students in chemical formulation by playing games and helping them to relate molecules and atoms.

Service Learning 

Service learning combines learning and community service into the same project. Students work towards the needs of others with the objective of improving their community and learning during the process. These types of projects require students to exit the classroom and collaboration between the school and the community. Since this is a complex activity which integrates community service with learning content, skills, competencies, or values, students can feel involved in their community as agents of change.

Problem Based Learning 

Problem based learning is a method in which students learn content while trying to resolve a real-life problem. It starts with a problem or situation that allows students to identify what’s necessary to better understand the problem. First, students discuss and develop a possible hypothesis or mechanism of explanation. This helps identify what the students already know and what they need to learn to better solve the problem.

Example: What if?

In order to face the problem of the energy crisis, we propose an activity that will make students reflect and discuss about energy consumption and its environmental impact and think of potential solutions.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a very novel method that was born in a design company, but its humanist gaze and creative and collaborative work has brought it to the field of education. Its principal objective is to create innovative ideas that answer the real needs of the environment. It is based on collaboration, observation, experimentation, and continuous evaluation of the results obtained.

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is the process by which members of a team try to achieve shared goals. In this cooperative work, every group member has their own tasks and responsibilities defined, but the success of the group depends on everyone. Without the effort of each individual, it is difficult to satisfactorily achieve their group goals. The teacher guides students through the process by forming groups, preparing materials, and being attentive to difficulties that arise.

Example: Hunting Clouds

Research activity for students to identify and recognize the different types of clouds, where they occur and to what weather events they are usually associated. Each student will play a different role in the group. Through this activity, students will experience collaborative work.

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