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Many experts recommend class activities which allow students to engage activly with the content.
Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999 – "By engaged learning, we mean that all student activities involve active cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and evaluation. In addition, students are intrinsically motivated to learn due to the meaningful nature of the learning environment and activities."
Dalgarno, 1998 – "Choose activities likely to facilitate the achievement of specific learning outcomes...Learning occurs primarily through the learner's activity, rather than through passively receiving information".
"If you tell me I will forget
If you show me I might remember
But if you involve me, I will learn" —Chinese Proverb
Instructors in varied disciplines use many types of learner activities such as those below:
|Art||Create a portfolio|
|Architecture||Design a blueprint|
|Engineering||Develop a new product|
|Education||Plan a lesson including all student activities|
|Nutrition||Analyze a diet|
But faculty in any discipline shouldn't feel constrained to traditional activities.
|English course||Portfolio of early, mid and final versions of papers.|
|Math course||Web site with solutions to problems assigned to individual students; open for review by other students.|
|Chemistry course||Write a paper on the importance of chemistry to the health industry.|
|Journalism course||Review a video of a press conference and identify and analyze social and political implications.|
|Sociology course||Take a field trip to a shopping mall to observe different social behaviors.|
|Marketing course||Conduct a case study in teams. The team members may be from different areas/countries through video conferencing.|
When you choose types of activities, consider:
How many activities a course or lesson should have?
Consider the following:
It's important to arrange the student activities in a logical sequence in order to facilitate learning. There are several methods to sequence the student activities.
|Before Class Activities||Help students prepare for class by giving them assignments such as readings, article reviews, problems, etc. Have them answer questions or submit major points.|
|In-Class Activities||Give students opportunities to practice the skills and knowledge learned within class discussion and give prompt feedback.|
|Allow students to reflect on what they have learned by activities such as group discussions, submission of the three most important points of class or "fuzziest concept."|
Fink (no date) – "Each individual activity should build synergistically on students' previous learning activities and prepare them for future activities"
Some examples are as below:
|If you want students to:||Then precede the activity with:|
|Write a 20-page research paper||A much shorter paper, feedback on outline, or proposed research sources|
|Write a chemistry lab report||A critique of a poorly written lab report|
|Conduct a case study in teams||Teamwork activities, case study techniques, a simple case to analyze|
|Create an online professional portfolio||A one-page simple portfolio with a few links, provide feedback on layout and contents of the portfolio, create a web page|
|Create a blue print of an office building||A simple blueprint of a room|
Penn State World Campus (2000) Examples of Student Activities.(Instructional Design and Development)
Retrieved May 14, 2003 from
Dalgarno, B. (1998). Choosing Learner Activities for Specific Learning Outcomes: A Tool for Constructivist Computer Assisted Learning Design.
Retrieved May 14, 2003, from http://farrer.riv.csu.edu.au/~dalgarno/publications/1998a/dalgarno1.html
Fink, D. (no date). Planning your course: A decision guide.
Retrieved May 14, 2003 from http://www.ou.edu/idp/idp_word/designguide.doc
Fink, D. (no date). Intermediate phase (step 6-8): Assembling the components into a coherent whole.
Retrieved May 14, 2003, from http://www.byu.edu/fc/pages/tchlrnpages/Fink/Fink5.pdf
Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning.
Retrieved May 14, 2003, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
University of Maryland University College (2003) Teaching/Learning Activities.
Retrieved May 14, 2003, from