What Are Active Methodologies?

The school system needs a methodological change. In order to achieve this, it has to implement active methodologies. But what are they? In this article, you'll find out.
What Are Active Methodologies?

Last update: 09 January, 2021

In order to adapt the school system to the current times, it’s necessary to implement active methodologies. This way, students are the main characters in the teaching-learning process. Thus, they build their own knowledge by acquiring useful skills for their daily lives.

Therefore, it’s correct to say that these kind of methodologies promote meaningful and discovery learning.

“Whoever seeks higher knowledge must create it for himself. He must instill it into his soul. It cannot be done by study; it can only be done through life.”

– Rudolf Steiner –

What are active methodologies?

According to María José Labrador and María Angeles Andreu, active methodologies are:

“Methods, techniques and strategies teachers use to transform the teaching process into activities, where students get actively involved and learn.”

– María José Labrador and María Angeles Andreu –

Students are learning.

Therefore, these methods, techniques and strategies must promote school motivation. As a result, students will become curious and interested in acquiring:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Attitudes
  • Abilities
  • Values

In order to obtain this, school methodologies must:

  • Focus on the students, because they’re the main characters and active subjects in the teaching-learning process. Thus, teachers must respect diversity, and they have to adapt to every student’s needs.
  • Understand learning as a constructive process, rather than just gathering information. As a result, the pieces of knowledge that students acquire relate to each other, forming a network of useful ideas to solve different problems.
  • Promote self-directed learning. In this case, teachers act as guides, and students take initiative and responsibility of their own learning process. Therefore, they get to develop metacognitive skills, reflexive self-consciousness, critical thought, creativity, self-regulation skills, etc.
  • Promote contextualized teaching, applying it to the real world. This allows students to face real and practical problems. As a result, the knowledge they acquire is transferable, long-lasting and easy to understand.

Key elements of active methodologies

In conclusion, we can say that the key elements of active methodologies are:

  • A scenario that defines a context for problems, situations and projects.
  • Learning based on the real world.
  • The formation of groups and teams, promoting cooperative work.
  • The solution of complex problems that require reasoning, effort and inquiry in order to solve them.
  • The importance of previous knowledge and the discovery of new information.

“Give the pupil something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”

– John Dewey –

Students learning to solve problems.

Some examples of these kind of methodologies

In order to promote class participation among students, we’ll give you some examples of active methodologies you can put into practice in the classroom:

  • Project-based learning (problem-based learning)
  • Decroly method
  • Case studies
  • Learning contract
  • Expository method
  • Participatory interaction in lectures
  • Role play and drama

Following these ideas, active methodologies rely on cooperation, collaboration and participation in the classroom. Therefore, students will get to know their classmates’ strategies, and they’ll be able to use them in similar situations.

What’s more, these kinds of methodologies understand the teaching-learning process as a bidirectional procedure. Thus, teachers learn to adjust their intervention to their students’ needs. Likewise, students base their learning on the results they obtain.

“Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.”

– Virginia Burden –

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  • Baro-Cálciz, A. (2011). Metodologías activas y aprendizaje por descubrimiento. Revista digital innovación y experiencias educativas7.
  • Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T. y Smith, K. A. (1991). Active learning cooperation in the college classroom. Edina, MN Interaction Book Company.
  • Labrador, J. y Andreu, M.Á. (2008). Libro Metodologías Activas. España: Editorial Universidad Politécnica de Valencia.
  • Quintero-Ruiz, L. D. (s.f.). Metodología. Gobierno de Canarias: Dirección General de Ordenación, Innovación y Promoción Educativa. Consejería de Educación y Universidades.