Are you an active or passive bystander?

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Every once in awhile, dear SpeakUp Londoners, we have to post something serious. Yes, that means it can be boring, but we hope it is interesting.  Today, we are hoping to teach you something  important, it might change your perspective on studying . It’a bold claim to make, but to understand the differences in active and passive learning have saved some grades in the past.

Active and passive learning are two theories that discuss how the brain learns best. Experts in education express preference in active learning over passive. The reason might be obvious: active learning involves doing more with your sensory faculties. While passive learning often involves muscle memory, meaning that it is all about remembering until the exam and then forgetting it, active learning encourages the development of new links, concepts that intertwine and stick in your mind.

Passive learning assumes that the mind is a sponge.

You just absorb the information. Active learning doesn’t just assume this but expands it via discussion, collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In all honesty, you might recognise some of the things you do in class in terms of the active and passive learning strategies I have already mentioned.

On your own, active and passive learning strategies might look like this:

Summarise your notesTyping up notes
Create diagrams and graphsCopying from the textbook
Make mind mapsCopying out quotes
Peer-to-peer testingHighlighting notes
Answering previous and similar questionsRe-reading notes and textbook


However, it is understandable that not everyone can learn using active strategies. If you are a better passive learner, maybe little changes to your routine such as reading your notes out loud or walking around the room as you do that can help retain information for longer.

If you don’t know what type of a learner you are, we can recommend this quiz which will help you figure out what type of a learner you are.

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