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Sample Essay on Passive Observation and Active Experiment

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Sample Essay on Passive Observation and Active Experiment

Human kind generates knowledge through passive observation and active experiment. Observation refers to the process by which humans inspect or scrutinize something or someone with the sole aim of gaining information. In natural setting, two different types of observation are generally applied by human beings during this process: passive observation and active learning (Benware, Carl, and Edward 2).

Passive Observation and Knowledge Acquisition

It has been said so many times that learning by doing is the best way of learning. This may be true to some extent but some passive observation skills have been used in classrooms almost every time .lecturers and e-learning approaches have continued to be employed by instructors though mostly in the higher levels of learning. Some situations have often called for the usage of passive learning to pass and gain the required knowledge (Benware, Carl, and Edward 15). Examples of cases of knowledge acquisition would be observed in cases whereby, the use of examples proves more effective than demonstrations.

The use of graphics that are generated by the author or even the course instructors instead of graphics generated by students can be observed in all education institutions. Students in higher levels of education are exposed to more lecture periods than class or group discussions. Students are passive observant during lectures. In schools and colleges, learners are sometimes taught by use of still art visuals, which is another activity that requires passive observation from the students (Benware, Carl, and Edward 4).

As the name suggests, this type of observation usually involves observation but without any activity from the observant. People learn by being passive observers. In most of traditional classes, the instructors usually give lectures while students sit passively taking down notes (Benware, Carl, and Edward 77). The process of giving out verbal lectures by the instructor to the learners is also grouped under passive learning.

The lecture reads out instructions to his/her students. The students in this case are supposed to observe and record whatever the teacher gives to them. They are hence like passive recorders. In this kind of scenario, the students are only required to get the information, record and acquire the expected knowledge that would lead to a change in behavior(Benware, Carl and Edward 42)..

During laboratory demonstrations, the tutor would expect the students to pay attention to what he or she is teaching before they get involved in the experimentation process (Benware, Carl, and Edward 60). The instructor first reads out guidance on what is to be done. This is meant to enable students get the concept of what they are expected to do and the things that they are not supposed to try.

Active Experiment

Whenever an individual is gained in anything, especially in natural setting, he learns something at the end of that experience. Humankind learns naturally. All that is required for learn to take place is interest and motivation

Knowledge acquisition requires that an individual get involved in a number of behavioral reactions. This maybe in form response to questions, contributing in-group discussions or engaging in activities that in the end would lead to knowledge acquisition on the part of the individual(Benware, Carl and Edward 55).. The use of discussions and even animations all require active experiment on the part of an individual

The students strive to get all the knowledge they can get from the teacher, since learning is not only passive, the students maybe be subjected to quizzes at the end of the lesson, topic or term. The instructor would in most cases advice his class to do more studies on a given topic, either before or after the classes (Benware, Carl, and Edward 15). The instructor’s use of examples and demonstrations require students to observe actively. Class presentations would involve use of visual arts, which the learners may be required to make on their own in groups or as individuals.

In geography, learners are involved in activities that are more practical since geographical facts need to be proven most of then times. The instructor guides students to gain skills by construction and usage of the knowledge taught earlier (Benware, Carl, and Edward 755).

From the above discussion, it is observed that for human beings acquire knowledge by employing the use of mental processes and behaviors. These two are encompassed under passive observation and active experiment. In passive observation, an individual employs mainly the mental functions to perceive, memorize, and reason. On the other hand, active experiment involves behavioral responses to the instruction as witnessed in demonstration sessions (Benware, Carl, and Edward 756). People observe to discover about something or someone. Learning is a discovery process. Since childhood, humans discover things in their environment either by observing passively e.g. by just looking at situations, events and people or actively by touching, tasting, shaking among other things.

Passive observation when combined with active experiment leads to improved knowledge acquisition. Major learning theories like classical conditioning and operant conditioning have all showed that, human knowledge acquisition happens through observation. Young children learn mostly by observing their parents then imitating these behaviors later. Learning by passive observation is mostly witnessed among small children (Benware, Carl, and Edward 755). This helps children to socialize in their various societies.

The ideas behind television advertisement and programs are based on observational learning. People learn passively when they watch video and they may later apply these learnt concepts in real life. Programmes are designed with an objective of teaching its audience a given topic (Collins et al.280).

Humans learn by observing the surrounding, retaining whatever they have observed and then reproducing later as a behavior Psychologists Albert Bandura was a strong advocator of learning through observation. This he termed as behavioral learning (Bandura 575).

From the conditions that were laid down by Bandura as the prerequisite for any learning experience, one is able to observe that all these conditions fall either under passive learning or under active learning (Bandura 575). The conditions were attention, memory or retention, initiation and motivation

Nobody can acquire information from his or her surrounding without paying attention. Paying attention is present in both passive and active experiment. In classroom scenario, the instructor may teach using lecture method or demonstration method, but if the learner cannot retain anything from whatever is taught then he or she will not be able to acquire knowledge from that teaching experience (Bandura 572).

In active experiment, the process of initiation is emphasized. Individuals are able to react to whatever they have been taught by producing a behavioral response. This response shows that knowledge has been acquired or is being acquired. Although in real life situations, motivation is not necessary for one to learn (Benware, Carl, and Edward 755).

Other areas in life like in education institutions, motivation plays a huge role in human learning. Motivation is what drives most part of active experiment after and before classes in education institutions. Some NGOs have come up to sponsor some programmes because the programs teach people how to control the spread of HIV/AIDS, how to reduce pollution and even family health and development (Collins et al.280).









Works cited



Bandura, Albert. “Social learning.” The Blackwell encyclopedia of social psychology (1999): 576-581.


Benware, Carl A., and Edward L. Deci. “Quality of learning with an active versus passive motivational set.” American Educational Research Journal 21.4 (1984): 755-765.


Collins, Rebecca L., et al. “Watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual behavior.” Pediatrics 114.3 (2004): e280-e289


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