I had a discussion with some colleagues recently about active and social learning. We seem to have come to agreement on this elevator pitch:
We know human brains are adapted to social learning. Just what we mean by social learning is open to interpretation and not every lesson is amenable to it. In situations where:
- Problems are complex
- There is clear answer before we start
- We hope to promote knowledge building rather than simply memory
social learning is beneficial. Not only will students remember the material that comprises the domain of the problem longer and more accurately, they will gain experience solving problems within that domain. It is unclear how far those lessons will transfer.