Monday, March 02, 2015

Active Learning in the Online Classroom: Examples and Ideas

Someone recently told me that they heard of an approach where all the boring content delivery lecture material is put online so that more active learning can take place in the classroom. They then asked me if this was the best approach for online learning? What they were describing is blended learning or the “flipped” classroom approach. Good blended classrooms have a significant amount of active learning. The active learning philosophies need not only occur in the classroom however. There are ways to leverage the online space to include active learning. Active learning is basically any part of the course that involves active “interaction” instead of just passive tasks. It engages learners into activities that help them clarify, investigate, apply, create and integrate knowledge. Consider the human-factor: any types of human interactions such as Learner-to-Learner or Learner-to-TeachingTeam qualify. However, learners can also interact with their physical or virtual environment and that can be active. Just because you have an online course, it doesn’t mean you have to design learning activities that only involve reading web-pages or textbooks all day. Here’s a list of ideas, across four categories, for active learning online:

Learner-to-Learner Interactions
Creativity in active learning
  • Group brainstorming 
  • Group role-playing 
  • Study/support groups
  • Peer feedback on student work 
  • Exploring a Virtual World as a team
  • Creating visual posters to share with the class
  • Creation of video presentations to share with the class 
  • Asynchronous individual or collaborative learning activities (i.e. Projects) 
  • Creative writing (in groups or individually) that is shared with peers 
  • Problem-based learning Learning activities which encourage critical thinking
  • Cooperative learning group discussions (real time video chat or via asynchronous discussion forum) 

  • Tutorials 
  • Reflective questioning 
  • Relating learning to relevant current events and personal life 
  • Problem-based learning Learning activities which encourage critical thinking 
  • Cooperative learning group discussions (real time video chat or via asynchronous discussion forum)

Learner-To-Virtual Environment
  • Interviewing people
  • Exploring a Virtual World individually
  • Learning activities which encourage critical thinking 
  • Online quizzes (graded and non-graded) that provide immediate feedback 
  • Advanced adaptive technologies like simulations and sensitivity analyses 

Learner-To-Physical Environment 
  • Interviewing people
  • Home-based laboratories
  • Real-life data collection and analysis 
  • Learning activities which encourage critical thinking 
  • Learning activities with hand-on experiences and tasks
  • Learning activities which apply the content of the lesson in real-life situations 
This list is not exhaustive.  Do you have something to add? If so, leave a comment below. Which ever active learning activity you choose for your online course, remember to keep the purpose in mind. Ask yourself, what Learning Outcome will this learning activity serve and does this activity align well with it? If you can answer that question clearly, then you’re on the right track.


autism spectrum disorder said...

I just love your blog.

Roselyn said...

Thanks for the information & sharing this article with us. Technology is very much needed in today's educational system. I believe the fact that technology in education prepares students for the future and allows them to become flexible enough to be successful in the workforce.

There are even some platforms which are specially designed for education purpose keeping in mind the hierarchy of the educational institutes.

After reading this article even I felt like sharing my experience of an app named "Flinnt" which works on the concept of sharing communication & information with parents & students with a very easy & user friendly interface. It can be accessed through computer/laptop/tab/phones. Tutorials for teachers,admin,parents & students are their on you tube which makes the process very easy at any point of time & Flinnt's twitter handle is very engaging as it keeps on sharing best practices for the teachers.

This application was introduced in my college before 6 months & it has made our college go total paperless. Each & every happening, communication or information is being shared with the students & parents on "Flinnt". We keep parents well informed about what is going in the class & the happenings of the school like any competitions, annual functions, exams, report cards distribution, vacations, etc.

For students we share all the study material, assignement, projects, homework, quiz, etc on "Flinnt", keeping in mind the recent news,current affairs or recent activities happening in the world. With developing the interest through this , we even try to generate knowledge in them.
With the help of this platform, If a student is absent for some time than his/her studies dont get affected as they get all the details about the college from Flinnt.

We use pictures/text/audios/videos/photos/animations/pdf files/word documents/excel sheets/powerpoints. This helps us to make the learning more interesting for students & attractive for the viewers to make them engaged with us. This has provided us a different mode to make our students learn in an effective way.

Technology is a very integral part of education now. We should motivate such user friendly apps like "Flinnt" to make a better future rather than sticking towards the traditional methods of education. With this we can even restrict the content & the usage of students.

John Laskaris said...

Thanks for the post Eric. I believe blended learning or even e-learning are becoming standards. The diversity of the ways the knowledge is being served is a crucial issue.
When it comes to so called virtual environment you mentioned online quizzes - I would add gamification elements such as levels or leaderboards. They may bring some fun.

Assignment Writing said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic… Thanks and keep up the good work