The following description of the role of learning activities was developed by Don Gillian-Daniel and Erin McCloskey in their course CIRTL Basics of Online Learning and Teaching:
What is the role of learning activities in an online course? [The goal of learning activities is] to engage students in interacting with the content and with each other. Active Learning activities, or methods, range from individual journals to case study groups to class-wide discussions (click here for more ideas of collaborative activities).
Learning activities serve several important functions, including
- provide a structure for learning
- accomplish learning objectives
- deepen concept understanding and application
- demonstrate and improve skiills
- support collaborative knowledge building
- develop compentencies in working in teams
- gain the learner’s attention and interest
- trigger reflection or critical thinking
- create working relationships to support a sense of community
Because of the importance of interactive learning activities, a rule of thumb in designing online instruction is to engage students in activities at least 30 percent of the time. For example, one unit of a course may devote approximately 70% of the unit workload to reading content materials and 30% to participating in learning activities.
Many activities can be adapted to the online environment with any platform. Check out the content repositories section of this website to explore a variety of adaptable activities. Below are descriptions of some activities that are especially well-adapted for blended and online learning.