Active Learning Levels the Playing Field

Studies find that active learning methodologies benefit all students, but the greatest benefits may be to women, minorities, low-income and first generation students. See :   As the NY Times reports, one study found “the active-learning approach worked disproportionately well for black students — halving the black-white achievement gap evident in the lecture course — and for first-generation college students, closing the gap between them and students from families with a history of college attendance.” The studies cited in this NY Times article provide support for increasing active learning in legal education, both to improve all students’ learning and to level the playing field.

2 Responses

  1. No, it doesn’t provide support for increasing active learning in legal education. Rather, it demonstrates that all law professors must (!) incorporate active learning into their teaching if they are serious about their students. It is time to end the rhetoric and act. We know how to help minority students improve their learning. Many, many articles have concluded the same thing as those mentioned in the Times article. Active learning is like penicillin. It doesn’t need more testing.

  2. Do you know the difference between active learning and experiential learning? Active learning is used in experiential education to engage the student. In Kolb’s experiential cycle: 1) concrete experience; 2) observation and reflection; 3) forming abstract concepts; and 4) testing in new situations – active learning can be utilized in any of the above processes. True experiential education requires thoughtful design, bold control in and out of the classroom and a certain comfortableness and flexibility with unknown variables. Are legal educators utilizing Kolb’s cycle to design experiential modules and courses?

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