Types of Interactive Learning
- Interactive learning can be defined in numerous ways, but the most commonly agreed on definition groups interactive learning into three distinct types. These learning types are grouped based on the types of interaction in which they engage students. The first, learner-content, is a type of teaching where the student interacts solely with what information she reads. The second is called learner-instructor, and this is where the primary interaction is with the instructor. The final style is called learner-learner, and this is where the student primarily interacts with his peers to learn new material.
- In an English and literature classroom, the focus is primarily on the development of students' reading skills and comprehension. While actually reading a text can be a solitary activity, except during round robin and pairs reading activities, the lessons used to help students understand what they have read and learn to become better readers can be fully engaging. Students can work together to create skits, utilize art and music to elaborate on points taught in the story, and use other creative means to interpret and help analyze a work of literature. When teaching vocabulary and grammar, a teacher can create interactive games, such as "Definition Bingo," to help students engage with and learn the material.
- In a history classroom, a student's focus is on understanding how the past has helped shape and create the present in which we live. By learning time lines, dates, facts and theories about the past solely through reading a text book, the student is interacting with material in a solitary format. To create an interactive environment, a teacher can bring history to life by creating games, hosting a miniature Renaissance Fair or recreation of ancient Rome to teach students about culture through music, food, dress, art and architecture. Students can work together to create projects and then utilize their projects to educate the class on their findings. All of these methods are part of interactive learning.
- A science classroom, if set up as a lab, naturally lends itself to interactive learning. A laboratory demands that a student learn how to use a microscope, work with chemicals, work with animals, and numerous other hands-on materials. Many students also interact in peer engagement by working with partners. If students utilize a textbook for information, follow a teacher's direction to participate in a hands-on lab and are paired with a partner to discuss findings, they are fully engaged in interactive content learning.
- In a mathematics course, it can be more difficult to engage students in interactive learning as the traditional method of teaching finds students individually working problems from a textbook. Math can be made interactive by utilizing math manipulatives, working in groups and assigning students math strategies to learn and then teach their peers. Games and role playing with real-life examples of problems can also be utilized to make the content interactive and further student engagement.