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What is Active Learning?

Active learning is a term that refers to an educational technique where students learn through discussing, reading, talking, and doing activities. Study abroad, in fact, is in itself the definition of active learning. Here in Rome we have learned through all different methods. CEA has created a global learning environment for their students that goes beyond the walls of a classroom. Through my classes at CEA I have had the opportunity to learn about the sites of Rome, the culture and people of Rome, and to explore the city.

CEA students are fortunate to have many opportunities through classes or program activities to discover what is available to them in their host city. My classes this semester are a perfect example of active learning. We did not sit in a classroom and learn from a book all the time, we learned on site. A perfect example is my art history class. Rome is full of ancient art, so every week we went to a different site and learned all about the ancient masterpieces. When we use the term active learning we realize that we are dynamic in understanding what we are studying. In the many magnificent cities of the world it is important to get to know your city and what’s in it. So many endeavors are hidden within ancient city walls, and while living in a new place you should find them.

Active learning is an effective and exciting way to learn. It is more interesting than sitting with your face in a book, and often is more productive. It would be useless to come to a new city and not see it. CEA knows that and that is why they have helped all of us to actively learn in our host cities. Because of active learning, my stay in Rome has been incomparable. It has been the best experience of my life and has helped me learn effectively. It is definitely the best way to learn abroad and possibly otherwise as well. Hopefully, having these experiences abroad will help us to explore where we live just as we have explored our study abroad destinations. Our active learning experiences have opened our minds to exploration and adventure. We have used it to step outside our comfort zones, and without it our experiences would not be the same. CEA has truly helped me understand active learning by encouraging my fellow students and I to explore Rome and all it has to offer. Active learning, in all, is a way to fully consume yourself in what you are learning and exploring where you are fully by experiencing it first hand.

Dana Bartone is the Spring 2013 CEA MOJO in Rome, Italy

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