A few weeks ago, I received an email promoting a book titled Active Learning Online by Stephen M. Kosslyn. When I receive such promotional emails, I usually delete the email and move on. However, I decided to check out the book, and good thing I did purchase the book. As an instructor, teaching online is not new to me; however, I benefited from getting new ideas to teach students online. No matter how many years you’ve been teaching online, let me explain the three lessons I learned from Stephen M. Kosslyn.
Online Students Need Activities
COVID-19 forced educators from both K-12 and higher education to get acclimated with online teaching. I found that I was now dealing with students who did not like online teaching and had no choice but to take online courses. Whether the student is asynchronous or synchronous online course activities are a must.
When it comes to online learning is not about putting a YouTube video and calling it a day. The activities have to be engaging with the intent that the student is learning. Whether the activity is a scavenger hunt, debating a pro/con issue, or providing discussion forums that ask students to offer their own opinion, you need to keep students engaged.
Even if you believe that students don’t want to do online activities, they do because they want to feel engaged and learn by doing.
Don’t Cram learning material in one module
Imagine me cramming all the information on how to assemble a 3,000 piece LEGO set into one page. I bet you would feel overwhelmed and confused. The same goes for when you’re creating your online course. Don’t cram all of the learning material into one module. Space out your learning materials into the proper amount of modules.
Students learn best when you pace out the learning materials into numerous modules. Perhaps three to five learning objectives per module would be sufficient. However, this all depends on the level of content and the number of weeks for the course.
Active learning is a process
Active learning is more than a definition; it’s a process that takes time to comprehend. Active learning in the online classroom is about engaging students to communicate and express their knowledge. In my decade of teaching experience, I felt that COVID-19 challenge my online teaching skills. I had to make sure that I was applying active learning principles and practices into my online courses.
The book indeed did challenge my inclination about active learning, the principles behind active learning, and the ways you can implement it in the online classroom. I encourage you to learn the process of active learning so you can get students engaged in the online classroom. The more engaged the student is in the online classroom, the more satisfied they will be with their learning experience at your institution.
How will you use active learning in the online classroom?
Jay Fulgencio, Ph.D.
Learning Technology Specialist