Focus on Instructional Design: Providing Engaging Content to Promote Active Learning

Providing students with useful yet engaging content for learning is an important part of the instructional design process. Students who engage in active and participatory learning are more likely to retain and have a better understanding of the course materials.

There are many resources available for enhancing the online learning experience. The key to integrating effective instructional materials is selecting appropriate student-centered activities. Consider the following instructional methods to enhance the learning experience while actively engaging learners:

  • Interactive Tutorials and Lessons – Interactive websites, tutorials, and flash-based lessons allow learners to engage in active knowledge construction. Encourage students to explore content while promoting active engagement throughout the learning experience.

  • Videos – Recorded lectures, videos, and other supplemental media can be chunked into mini segments to provide just-in-time learning opportunities that allow learners to access small chunks of content they need, when they need it.

  • Links for Learning – The Internet provides learners with endless opportunities to explore new resources. Including links to websites and outside resources motivates and stimulates students to become active participants in their own learning while richly improving the learning experience.

  • Synchronous Collaboration – Group discussions, oral presentations, lectures, and students-instructor conferences are among the many activities accomplished through the use of web conferencing technologies which engages learners through collaboration while building the learning community.

  • Quizzes and Self-assessment Activities – Establishing self-check opportunities and practice quizzes motivate students to keep up with readings and allow learners to verify the level of knowledge gained is sufficient to move on to the next module.

Content engagement and learner interactions, both student-student and student-instructor, are extremely important in the online learning environment. It’s important to keep in mind that the development of well–designed, engaging course content and activities should always align with and support the overall learning objectives of the course.

Recommended Readings:

Simonson, M., Sandino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance – foundations of distance education fifth edition. Boston: Pearson.

Roblyer, M & Doering, A. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (5th Ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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