What is Active Learning?

Active Learning is an approach based on the work of Dr. Lilli Nielsen.  It is not just a piece of equipment, such as a "Little Room" or a HOPSA dress, but rather it refers to a total approach, for instructing individuals with severe multiple disabilities.  It contains an assessment, a curriculum, specifically-designed equipment, and instructional strategies that support learners to be active participants in their surroundings.

This approach is closely tied to evidence-based research, such as the work of Jean Piaget's developmental stages of learners. It views the child's development wholistically, including not only motor, cognitive, and sensory skills, but also social and emotional development.

Lives Changed At Penrickton Schools

Watch this video to see how Active Learning is used at the Penrickton Center for Blind Children. 


What type of learner benefits from an Active Learning approach?

Dr. Lilli NielsenThe Active Learning approach can be used in conjunction with other approaches, such as the work of Dr. Jan van Dijk.  Though initially this approach was designed for individuals with visual impairments and deafblindness, it has proven to be effective with individuals with other signicant disabilities, such as autism and cerebral palsy.

It is an approach that can be used with all learners, but is most effective for those who have significant multiple disabilities and are functioning in the 0-48 month developmental level.  The Active Learning approach can be used with individuals with various visual conditions, such as CVI (Cortical Visual Impairment) and ONH (Optic Nerve Hypoplasia), as well as with those who are deafblind or medically fragile.

We invite you to explore the world of Active Learning!  Share your ideas and questions.


Active Learning collage


Pinterest logo

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


# Elzabeth Kirkaldie 2016-12-06 19:45
When is the next Webinar. What is the cost?
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Charlotte Cushman 2016-12-07 05:38
Hi Elizabeth,

The next webinar will be January 26, 2017. It is free, but you need to register. You can find all of the information here: https://txtsbvi.escworks.net/catalog/session.aspx?session_id=38977

We hope you'll join us!
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Tina Carter 2016-11-01 12:41

My school just created an active learning classroom for severely disabled students. I currently have 6 students in the class with several more expected in the next few years when they become high school age. I attend the active learning conference in Austin last year and have read all of Lilli Nielson's books. I have the basics of the theory down. I was wondering of there are any other high school level active learning classes in Texas that I can come and observe at. Our version of the little room (my students are not little) has created miracles with my students but we are ready for the next step in helping them progress. I will be attending the conference in June in Austin. Any help would be appreciated
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Andrea 2016-07-28 09:42
I'm interested in anything available. Thank you
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Charlotte Cushman 2016-08-03 10:48
Hi Andrea,

We hope that you'll join us for our free webinar series, beginning in September! You can learn more at https://txtsbvi.escworks.net/catalog/session.aspx?session_id=38983.

We hope you'll also be sure to sign up for our newsletter, so we can let you know about new things on our website, as well as other updates related to Active Learning.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Lourdes Cruz 2016-07-05 14:19
I am interested in the webinar course.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Charlotte Cushman 2016-08-03 10:54
We're happy to hear that you're interested in the webinar course! Please visit https://txtsbvi.escworks.net/catalog/session.aspx?session_id=38983 for more information and registration.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

Add comment

SPAM, offensive language and hateful comments will not be tolerated. Your IP address will be submitted with your comment.

Security code