ACTIVE LEARNING : ENGAGING STUDENTS TO MAXIMIZE LEARNING IN AN ONLINE…
ACTIVE LEARNING : ENGAGING STUDENTS TO MAXIMIZE LEARNING IN AN ONLINE COURSE
online course delivery faces additional barriers to engaging students not typically present in face-to-face courses including the fact that course design and development must occur before the actual delivery of the material, effective time and resources management is necessary on the part of both the students as well as faculty when online, methods of encouraging student communication and interactions among themselves and faculty differ greatly from face-to-face delivery methods and the efficient implementation of teaching tools used to deliver the online course is a challenge for many faculty.
however many of these concerns can be addressed through the implementation of active learning strategies that encourage students to actively participate in the online course content.
several strategies for effectively incorporating and practicing active learning in non-face-to-face settings
the use of well-conceived discussions, group work and creating a collaborative environment that encourages and fosters a community of learning
it is critical to weave active learning through the major components of an online or blended course including discussions ,assignment, and assessments to promote high level of student engagement
some of the key components in online courses are the design of instructional material for the content delivery, student assessment of material, discussion management, time management and frustration handling
BACKGROUND ON ACTIVE LEARNING
Allen and Tanner have described active learning as "seeking new information, organizing it in a way that is meaningful, and having the chance to explain to others."
studies have shown that employing such methods of active learning improves both students' learning and attitudes towards learning.
experimentation and exploration in teaching and learning methods is required as an effort that must be made if students are to be actively engaged in their learning.
Bloom's Taxonomy defines three domains of educational activities : cognition, affective and psychomotor.
each of these domains identifies levels of expertise, which can be measured through knowledge-based goals, emotional goals, and skills-based goals
most commonly used
Bloom's higher order cognitive skills, such as application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, demonstrate a deeper comprehension of material.
these cognitive skills are strengthened through active learning strategies such as visual learning, cooperative learning, debates, drama, discussions, role-playing and peer learning/ teaching.
these activities allow students to direct their own learning
STRATEGIES TO INCORPORATE ACTIVE LEARNING IN AN ONLINE COURSE DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY
a few aspects that should be considered with regard to online courses is the integration of design elements, accessibility of materials, value of interdisciplinary collaboration, development of community among students and faculty, encouraging valuable discussions and use of effective assessment methods.
Poll and Weller outline six strategies to help develop best practice in the online environment
building a community
clearly outlining course expectations
utilizing online tools for interaction
promoting the exchange of ideas
providing timely and relevant feedback
creating an environment that is student centred
the authors have utilized several tools and teaching principles such as Piazza, Poll everywhere, debates, interdisciplinary collaboration and industry collaboration.
SIGNIFICANCE OF INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION
it is critical to foster a collaborative learning environment where students from varying disciplines with different cultures and ethnicities can work together.
this provided a rich collaborative learning environment where students were discussingvarious real life problems and their solutions.
soft skills such as communication, teamwork, rules of professional engagement, presentation and respect for diverse viewpoints were practiced in addition to the technical skills related to their professions
a significant improvement in soft skills
increased ability to prioritize needs, think critically and interact professionally
the key is to foster collaborative learning with contemporary issues. this allows for interaction with different groups including the community.
this type of curricular approach would ideally prepare students to understand complex situations through a comprehensive perspective
for students, well thought out collaborations can provide real hands on experience, strengthen course engagement and even provide an opportunity for jobs.
ACCESSIBILITY OF COURSE MATERIALS
mobile eLearning applications increase accessibility to the course materials.
mobile learning provides students with access to course resources while on the go and is designed to allow real time access to the online course via mobile devices
provides access to learning anytime and anywhere
mobile devices have limited resources such as viewable area, limited memory and processing power
CREATING A COMMUNITY OF LEARNING
creating activities that engage students in critical thinking and thinking outside the box help create a community of learning.
discussions offer a great opportunity to design activities that increase student ownership and participation in the course.
students can create video clips of debates, drama, role-palying or peer teaching and post in the discussions to share with the class.
the syllabus plays an important role in defining a relationship between faculty-students and the peers. hence, the syllabus should identify overall course expectations, course schedule and when and how an instructor would provide feedback to the students
rubrics allow for clear articulation of the assignment expectations by guiding the students in overall performance and provide standardization.
communication is a critical component in the exchange of information in verbal and written forms.
ENGAGING THE CLASSROOM THROUGH DISCUSSION
discussion is an important component that can determine the success of the course
benefits of online discussion is convenience, additional time for students to reflect on discussion prompts and responses, increased participation and a greater sense of community.Furthermore online discussion allow instructors more time to interact with students without the time restriction imposed by face-to-face classes
learning management systems such as Moodle and Blackboard, host online classes and can provide a place for students to communicate with each other and with the instructor
three elements for online discussion to be successful including
finding out what students already know about the subject so that the instructor have a better idea of an appropriate point from which to start
how the material being covered pertains to the students
clearly stated so that students know what is expected of them
several tools and strategies to promote active learning and student engagement including using small groups, debates and assigning different roles to students in discussion.
additional online discussion platform such as piazza
video chat tools such as Google Hangout
USE OF EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT METHODS
the use of appropriate assessmenttechniques is important becuse of its physically remote nature compared to a face-to-face learning environment
summative assessments provide a measure of the level of proficiency achieved at the end of the class or class unit
formative assessment provides feedback that can be used by both the instructor and students to make further improvement in the ongoing course
Bloom's Taxonomy provides a system to evaluate the curriculum not only for assignments as previously discussed but also to evaluate assessments as well as to identify where content is introduced and how content grows in difficulty throughout the course.
Bloom's Taxonomy can be used to ensure that assessments meet the educational goals of the course
good assessment takes a continuous , systematic and multidimensional approach
designing effective rubrics is key to successful assessing outcomes in any course.
the overall goals of rubrics is to teach students that learning is their responsibility and to encourage students to become self-reflective.
polls are a great tool for engaging students in an online course and to assess how well students are learning concept
CHALLENGES FACING ACTIVE LEARNING INTEGRATION IN ONLINE COURSES
the lack of recognition of the time that is neede to effectively design and administer online courses.
converting a face-to-face class into an online format can be a challenging process because online course development requires a lot of planning and specialized training .
a significant amount of time is required for developing an online couse
the bandwidth of the internet can cause the internet connection to slow down
device incompatibility can cause problems with the access to the online instructional and assessment material
increase workload on the faculty
lack of resources
the resistance to interactive online instructional techniques