Learning activities offer instructors a chance to engage with their students in meaningful practice and reflection and these kinds of activities are prime low-stakes, active learning opportunities where students can work with the course material without fear. As such, learning activities can help to reinforce learning without jeopardizing student motivation or enthusiasm; however, this only occurs when an activity is aligned and relevant to all other learning items.
When using learning activities in your course, it is important to let students know how the activity works, what the intended outcomes are, and how much time they will have to complete a task. Winkelmes (2015) tells us that students are more motivated to perform tasks when they view them as relevant or useful; so telling students why you’re asking them to, for example, answer an iClicker question in pairs or agree on a summary statement for a case study can help increase student engagement with the activity.
Examples of learning activities that work well for all modalities include:
Think-Pair-Share (face-to-face or hybrid) — students first share ideas with each other in smaller groups before sharing them with the rest of the class.
Polling with personal response devices (face-to-face or hybrid) — instructor pauses at various intervals during class time to poll students with questions relevant to the course material.
Group Quizzes (face-to-face, hybrid, or online) — students are assigned to take a quiz together as a small group.
Pause procedures (face-to-face or hybrid) — following several minutes of active listening or note-taking, students are given some time to allow them to catch up, reflect on their own understanding, question each other, and modify their notes.
Guided Discussions (face-to-face, hybrid, or online) — students are prompted to connect, reflect, and critically think about the discussion topic.
Other ideas for learning activities can be found at: