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I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of "Crush School: Every Student's Guide To Killing It In The Classroom" which is a book that helps students understand how their brain processes information and learns. In the book, I explain why students can learn anything and give strategies on how to learn effectively.

In Chapter 14, I differentiate between passive and active learning and explain active learning strategies. Here's a taste:

Whether during lectures, reading, discussions, or watching videos, the key to getting the most out of these activities is to keep your conscious mind involved.

For example you might just sit there and hear the teacher talk or mindlessly watch a video in class. You’ll remember something, but not much. So if you really want to learn this stuff you have to do something with it.

I also talk zombies:

The key thing is that you know that in order to remember and understand what you are learning better, you have to allow your brain to process it and make meaning out of it. When you sit and stare at the teacher blankly or space out while reading a chapter, you’re acting like a vegetable or a zombie.

There are many zombies walking around you. They sleepwalk through their classes hoping the information will magically seep into their brain. Then they complain when it doesn’t. But not you. You learn actively, because zombies are only cool in movies. Or when they’re in love.