Empowering students using active learning in higher education institutions

Year: 2019

Author: Sewagegn, Abatihun, Diale, Boitumelo

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Higher education institutions are expected to produce skillful, problem solver and competent graduates. This becomes possible when the instructors are using the appropriate teaching methodology and the students are active and empowered in the teaching-learning process. In relation to this, constructivism theory emphasized that the student is the center of the learning and the instructors playing advising and facilitating role. In the teaching-learning process, when the students are empowered using the appropriate teaching methodology, they feel a sense of confidence, capability, competence, and self-esteem, enabling them to meet life’s challenges more effectively. Therefore, a shift in theory (education theory) to a more student-centered approach using active learning is recommended because this approach has its own role to make the students creative and competent in their study. Thus, the study is a review study and aimed to address the contribution of active learning in the empowerment of students in higher education institutions. Articles in active learning and assessment are collected, identified and reviewed from online databases and library catalogs to access an electronic collection of journals, books, conference proceedings, and thesis/dissertations. The thematic analysis was used. The analysis and discussions reviews are presented together based on the different topics which are related to the issue and finally, conclusions are given. From different studies and literature, it is indicated that empowering students using active learning in higher education institutions and other education levels have its own contribution to make the learners creative and competent in their learning and study area. Instructors in the classrooms and outside (laboratory and practical sites) of higher learning institutions are advised to use different active learning strategies based on the nature of the course with the support of appropriate assessment methods and feedback. If the students are not properly assessed and given appropriate and timely feedback, they will not be effective in their learning and their motivation to learn will be declined. Therefore, the active learning strategies, assessment methods and feedback (appropriate and timely) should be aligned together to empower students in their learning. This learning strategy is supported and linked to the theory of constructivism. Therefore, using active learning in the instructional process is vital to empower students and make them knowledgeable and competent in their study area.

Keywords:active learning, empowerment, higher education institution, instructors, students