Activity-based learning

pic04Activity-based learning or ABL describes a range of pedagogical approaches to teaching. Its core premises include the requirement that learning should be based on doing some hands-on experiments and activities. The idea of activity-based learning is rooted in the common notion that children are active learners rather than passive recipients of information. If child is provided the opportunity to explore by their own and provided an optimum learning environment then the learning becomes joyful and long-lasting.


Activity-based learning started sometime in 1944 around World War II when a British man David Horsburgh came to India and finally decided to settle down there. He was an innovative thinker and charismatic leader. Horsburgh developed a diverse curriculum, which included music, carpentry, sewing, masonry, gardening, as well as the usual school subjects. These pedagogic materials were systematically planned, with sketches and drawings and an occasional touch of humour. This initiative of Horsburgh was later proved to be one of the pioneer and milestones in ABL.


Peterson (2001) citing Wright, Bitner and Zeitham believed that “lecturing viewed the mind as a empty slate rather than a muscle that needed exercising through constant challenge” and it is evident from research literature that a learner centred approach in the form of active learning techniques engages students and is considered a more effective form of teaching than the more traditional lecturing style. Indeed one of the objectives of the Bologna Process (Bologna Declaration 1999) is to ensure that all teaching methods (tutorials and lectures) are student centred.


ABL – ezyDeeksha:

Activity Based Learning (ABL) is a methodology where children’s are grouped together in one class, and each learns at his or her own pace through a series of activities and cards arranged in the form of a learning ladder, with the teacher acting as a facilitator of children’s learning.

The key feature of the Activity Based Learning (ABL) method is that it uses child-friendly educational aids to foster self-learning and allows a child to study according to his or her aptitude and skill.

The ABL method has created a visible improvement in children’s learning and psychology. Children learn to make independent decisions at a young age, from choosing their activity card for the day, to marking their own attendance. Under the system, the curriculum is divided into small units, each a group of Self Learning Materials (SLM) comprising attractively designed study cards. When a child finishes a group of cards, he completes one `milestone.’

Activities in each milestone include games, rhymes, drawing, and songs to teach a letter or a word, form a sentence, do maths and science, or understand a concept. The child takes up an Exam Card only after completing all the milestones in a subject. If a child is absent one day, he continues from where he left unlike in the old system where the child had to learn on his own what he missed out on. Integrated in the curriculum are activities to create awareness about the environment, sanitation, health, and nutrition.


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