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Action-Based Learning: Concept & Activities Video

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  • 0:00 Let's Talk Learning Theory
  • 1:20 Action-Based Learning Concepts
  • 2:20 Action-Based Learning…
  • 3:33 Other Activities
  • 5:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sherri Nash

Sherri’s teaching includes middle school through college. Degrees include bachelor’s marketing education, master’s adult education and doctorate in curriculum instruction.

Action-Based Learning concepts relate to brain-based learning theory and can increase student learning and retention. Discover activities to implement in your classroom using action-based learning concepts.

Let's Talk Learning Theory

Action-Based Learning is a pedagogy of brain-based learning theory which focuses on the structure and workings of the brain in regards to learning. Eighty-five percent of students learn best using kinesthetic learning strategies, which include physical movement found in Action-Based Learning activities. We will explore Action-Based Learning concepts and effective learning activities to promote student learning, retrieval of information and long term retention.

Brain-based learning, also called educational neuroscience, identifies effective learning strategies based on how the brain retrieves and retains information. The biological side of this theory examines the holistic structure of the brain where learning occurs. Senses of smell, taste, feeling, touch, and hearing must be used in the teaching process for kinesthetic learners. Motor skills, spatial ability, coordination, and social interaction are developed with physical activities integrated into the learning activities. Movement provides more oxygen into the brain for increased learning. As a result, academic learning is improved as a result of increasing the neural connectors in the brain.

Action-Based Learning Concepts

The creators of the Action-Based Learning concepts are Jean Blaydes-Madigan and Dr. John Ratey. These concepts are supported by research showing there is an increase in learning when students participate in physical activities. Brain scans demonstrate a growth in brain cells and increase in function from exercise. The purpose, then, is to integrate physical activity and movement in the instruction during academic classes. Exercise promotes healthy bodies and minds, and allows for an increased level of socialization in the classroom.

Action-Based Learning activities can be implemented at all age levels, but particularly have learning developmental benefits for young children through age seven. Older students to adults can still benefit from these learning strategies to enrich and remediate their learning, too.

You are now ready to implement some of these activities in your classroom. Here are some ideas:

Action-Based Learning™ Activities

Students can climb Action-Based Learning™ Ladders while learning content displayed on each rung of the ladder. This ladder can be a paper-based ladder on the ground, so that no climbing is required. The combination of the physical activity of climbing or moving while reading and learning content hung on the ladder strengthens the retention of the concepts. For example, the number sequence to count to 50 by tens could have the number 5 on the first rung, 10 on the second, etc. This stimulates multiple parts of the brain to build learning connections.

Teachers can also set up a series of Action-based Learning™ Lab Stations with physical challenges at each place for your students to actively move while learning academic concepts. Organize students into teams to increase the social aspect of the activity. For example, one team may go to a station and two students are instructed to hold the jump rope while the third student recites the names of the states alphabetically, saying one state name with each jump. Each station may have the team long jump, and the length of the jump is recorded in inches. Students can then do simple math using the values they record.

Other Activities

One Action-Based Learning activity to try is body tracing, an activity that makes spelling physical. You can let your students make letters with their bodies or trace the words using their feet for imaginary pencils. This can be a group cooperative activity or made into a competition to see which team can achieve it fastest or make the best letter representation.

You can also play music and have your students make up words and dance steps to a song based on a concept. Then, give them an opportunity to perform their work. For example, reciting the planets could be sung to 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' while students dance, shifting two steps to the right and then two steps to the left.

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