Active Learning vs. Traditional Learning in Chemistry

Rivka Weiser-Biton, Biotechnology Engineering, Braude College, Karmiel 21982, Israel
Miri Shacham, Teaching & General Studies Depts., Teaching and Learning Center, Braude College, Karmiel 21982, Israel
David Pundak, Web-Learning Unit, Braude College, Karmiel 21982, Israel

Active learning (AL) becomes very important to use in teaching students for the modern world,  including skills for independent learning, critical thinking, and team/collaborative work. In the OBAC lecturers are involved in the development of new teaching technologies and a transition from traditional teaching to active teaching.  They developed new learning systems involving the activation of students during lectures, peer learning, illustration from activity, learning through self-guidance, work with simulations, problem-solving and a dynamic online course site[1].


  • identification of the attitudes of “active lecturers” and "active lecturers" who teach according to traditional methods towards AL;
  • examination of the characteristics of “active lecturers”
  • identification of students’ attitudes towards AL;
  • comparison of achievements of students studying according to traditional teaching methods and those studying according to AL.

Research tools:  attitudes questionnaire and  in-depth interviews.  The research population included 52 lecturers and 152 students in  Chemistry course. The research results indicate significant differences between “active lecturers” and the other lecturers.  Interviews lecturers indicat the attempt to encourage them to investigate new attitudes concerning AL necessitates the undermining of perceptions concerning the lecturer’s role. Additionally, it appears that a significant number of the college lecturers lack knowledge concerning group activation, peer learning or the management of illustrations.

Students studying according to the AL approach reported more involvement during the learning and better understanding of the studied subject matter. The students especially noted that they enjoyed meaningful dialog and brainstorming with group members and that they were able to cope with complex questions in the group. Students’ criticism of AL related to noise in the classroom and the large investment demanded from them. Comparison of students’ achievements in final exams indicated that a significantly higher grade was achieved by students studying according to AL in comparison to those studying in the traditional manner.  

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