What is Interactive Learning?

Interactive learning describes a method of acquiring information through hands on, interactive means. The opposite of interactive learning is passive learning, which is merely observing a learning process or just listening to information. Interactive learning is a common method employed in schools today and often involves the use of computers and other tangible equipment.

From very early on, children begin learning both interactively and passively. They acquire much of their language through passive learning, while much of their physical development is a result of interactive learning. As children grow, they continue to learn both passively and interactively and to respond differently to each method.

In school, teachers often use interactive learning as a way to get their students involved. Teachers are not always successful at engaging their students when introducing lessons through typical lecture format. Certain subject matters, such as chemistry and biology, are more easily understood through interactive learning in lab experiments.

Math is another subject in which interactive learning can be utilized to give students a physical grasp of the concepts. Manipulatives such as counting blocks, beads, or bears might be used as a means of interactive learning at preschool and kindergarten levels. As children mature, computers are ever present in the classroom to provide additional interactive learning. Many software programs interact with students on a progressive level, meaning that the software program enables the computer to advance the material as the student grasps each concept successfully or to review a concept he or she is having difficulty with. Computers as a means of interactive learning are standard in most classrooms today.

Other examples of interactive learning include centers, which are present in many elementary classrooms. Centers are simply a series of activities that center around a specific learning concept. Children move from center to center, where learning is reinforced through each activity.

Most experts agree that a combination of passive and interactive learning is the best way to enforce the concepts that children need to learn throughout their educational career. Interactive learning usually wanes in college, but still exists in some forms. Parents may be interested in purchasing software or visiting educational websites that incorporate interactive learning and can reinforce concepts that their children are studying at school. There are many, many different interactive learning toys and games available for children from as young as six months old to middle and high school age. Leapfrog is the leading manufacturer of interactive learning toys and games in the United States.


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