These are the Key Points of Active Learning:

Active Participation: The individual initiates some actions without prompting (verbal or physical) from the adult. By self-initiated activity the learner is developing neural connections and memories that may not be established by having an adult manipulate his/her body. Let the learner determine when and how to act on an object or make contact and engage with the adult. In whatever ways possible allow the learner to be an active participant in the world around him/her.

Repetition of Opportunities:  Practice makes perfect! This is critical to learning for anyone.  Provide plenty opportunities (thousands and thousands) for the learner to practice a skill so that it becomes part of the individual's personality.  The more "automatic" a skill becomes the less energy it takes for the learner to use that skill and the more likely he/she will use it in many different situations and environments.

Developmentally Appropriate: Skills develop in a fairly predictable order.  For example, you can't throw a ball until you have the ability to pick it up.  You can't pick it up until you can coordinate the movement of your fingers.  In Active Learning it is important to understand the developmental sequence of skills and provide activities that require skills the learner has.  This way the individual will feel success and use that skill to learn something new. Higher level skills will develop naturally as foundational skills solidify.

Reinforcing to the Individual: None of us will do things that we do not feel benefit us in some way.  In other words, we need motivation.  This is true for any individual.  Our role as the adults working with the learner is to figure out what is motivating for the individual.  For the sensorimotor learner, we need to determine which of the learning pathways (vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, or movement) provide the most usable information for the learner.  We also need to make learning fun and interesting!

Limited Distractions:  When anyone is trying to learn something new, distractions work against the process.  For example, have you ever tried to learn a new computer program and people won't stop talking or asking you questions? If you are like most people, you probably had a hard time learning what you needed to until they left you alone.  If we interrupt a learner's exploration and experimentation by telling the individual he/she is doing a good job or trying to show the individual what he/she can do, we interrupt the learning.  We need to minimize distractions as much as possible for all learners.  This includes making sure a learner is not hungry, tired, or wet.  That the room is not too hot, too cold, too overstimulating, too understimulating.  We must limit our comments to times when a learner takes a little break from what he/she is doing and is paying attention to us. Then make comments pertinent to the learner's activities and keep the language simple.

Listen to Patty Obrzut, Assistant Director at Penrickton Center for Blind Children talk about the Five Key points of Active Learning.

What is Active Learning? 5 Key Points

Description: Patty Obrzut, Assistant Director of Penrickton Center for Blind Children describes the five key points of Active Learning.

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