As educators, we know the purpose of learning activities is to guide learners down the path of mastering the course learning objectives. Well-planned learning activities align with course objectives and encourage learner interaction. Learning activities must have a clear purpose within the course and can take place in three different formats: learner to content, learner to learner, and learner to instructor.
Active learning involves the learner being responsible for, and aware of, their own learning. Even with a heightened level of personal accountability with active learning, learners are still provided clear instructions, expectations and requirements for learning activities. The DEC provides a wide variety of tools to support active learning in both online and face-to-face formats. Let’s explore some of them now!
Activities involving learner to content interaction are the most critical in a course, it’s where learners are immersed with instructional materials and course concepts. Canvas offers an extensive array of tools to engage students with content in the online format. For example, links to online articles, journals or YouTube videos can be placed directly in Canvas for quick and easy access by students. Once students have reviewed URL’s provided by the instructor they could complete their own research, then add their findings to a class wiki page. These tools provide learners with hands-on access to resources, while encouraging them to share information with others. Panopto Lecture Capture is another tool that can be used to engage learners with content. Panopto allows faculty to add audio to PowerPoint presentations, record course topic introductions or unit reviews. Once a recording is complete, faculty can utilize the Panopto Quiz feature to add questions throughout the recording. This learning activity allows students to interact with course content, while gauging their own knowledge and understanding of the material.
Activities involving learner to learner interaction allow learners to feel a sense of community and form connections in the online environment. Online conference tools such as Canvas Conferences or WebEx allow students to interact for review sessions or Q&A sessions. Canvas Groups is also a tool which allows students to interact with one another on group projects or presentations. Peer reviews, which can also be done through Canvas, allow students to provide valuable feedback to one another in order to revise and improve assignments before submitting for grading.
Activities involving learner to instructor interaction enable students to feel instructor presence in the course, which can improve both student satisfaction and success in the online environment. Again, online conference tools such as Canvas Conferences or WebEx are wonderful resources that allow learners to connect with the instructor. These can be used for office hours, Q&A sessions, or meet and greets. Assignment feedback is another way instructors can interact with learners. Canvas Rubrics and the Media Comment tool within SpeedGrader are wonderful resources to bring assignment feedback to life.
If you would like to learn more about any of these tools to enhance learner interaction or if you’d like assistance designing active learning opportunities in your courses, please contact the DEC to set up a meeting with one of our instructional designers!