What makes interactive learning work?

Lilith Yin Wai Lee, William Littlewood

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Many recent developments in educational thought and policy involve a shift from transmission-oriented conceptions of teaching and learning towards more learner-centred approaches which emphasise the active role of the students in processing and constructing knowledge. An important element in many of these approaches is interactive learning in which knowledge is processed through social interaction. The success of these approaches is contingent on the tutor's success in establishing contexts in which students feel able and willing to participate in the classroom interaction. This paper reports on a project which investigates the factors which make interactive learning work in tertiary contexts. It has four main sections. First, it describes and defines the term "interactive learning" for the purposes of the present discussion. Second, it looks at some of reasons why we should want interactive learning to work. Third, it presents some of the results of our investigation (through interviews and observation) into factors which make interactive learning work. Finally, based on these results, it offers recommendations to teachers who would like to make interactive learning work more effectively in their classes at tertiary level. A key factor in implementing interactive learning is the creation of a non-threatening atmosphere in which the students feel respected and do not perceive the tutor as the sole possessor of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalHKBU papers in applied language studies
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


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