There are many aspects of learning that are important, however, one of them that’s not often discussed - but of paramount importance - is the role of “active participation” in the process of learning.
One can be attentive, take notes, comprehend and memorize everything; however, active participation still tops the list. As goes the common saying: “It is better to participate and fail than to fail to participate.” This applies very well to learning.
Active participation has several benefits:
Participation engages students, triggers curiosity and wonder, nudging them to explore and dig deeper while expanding their knowledge of that field. It adds thrill to any lecture and makes it more engaging. A well-framed tricky question asked by a teacher piques everyone’s interest, the answer to which adds several different perspectives, different voices covering divergent interpretations.
Participation and discussion effects the level of thinking that goes beyond mere comprehension and the participants learn to analyze and implement all facets of the topic ensuing ingenious thinking and improved memory.
Participation helps students explore topics, integrate information and provide them a chance to apply their knowledge and understanding in bringing myriad solutions to the table and in the course improving their critical and high order thinking skills. While participation reinforces learning, discussions help individuals introspect, analyze and examine the extent of their understanding.
We all know that exchanging of ideas is known to be one of the best ways to learn. Participation encourages dialogue between students, gets them to think, and motivates them to make connections with the content. It opens their mind to other interpretations and teaches them to accept contradictory views and in the process, nourishes the ability of students to see things from other’s point of view thereby increasing their intellectual agility.
Participation facilitates interaction between the students, thus helping them develop interpersonal skills. They get feedback from their peers and facilitators as to whether they are on the right track or they need to change their path.
It helps organize one’s thoughts, facilitating in speaking out one’s mind which in turn increases their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-belief. Students, who struggle with the thought of sharing their ideas in front of a large group of strangers, find easy to open-up in a safe and respectful environment with known peers. Not only does it enhances public speaking skills but also incorporates active listening skills.
In addition to helping students, participation also helps the teacher who in turn gets an idea as to which strategy or methodology works best for the class; and which student needs more attention. They can accordingly calibrate their teaching methodology to achieve highest levels of engagement through active involvement of the learner.
Last but not the least; it helps one to decide on their future prospects. As said by Ken Petti “A chance not taken is an opportunity missed”; it applies for every opportunity around you. Actively participating in various activities help you explore diverse options and find your calling.
We must understand that learning is an interactive process and effective learning can occur only when both teachers and students interact and work together as a team resulting in a meaningful learning experience.