Blended Learning

27 Creating a Blended Learning Activity

3-modesC Practice & Apply

Objective:

Plan a precise blended learning activitiy to use in your course.

Directions:

In previous chapters, we’ve reviewed a number of resources that help explain how blended learning can work and the tools you can use to plan and implement blended learning in an organized and thoughtful manner. In this chapter, we will bring this material together and create a blended learning activity. We are bringing back several of the resources we’ve reviewed thus far to help guide us toward the completion of an activity that you can implement in your course. To complete the activity, follow the outline below and answer the “Key Questions” for each of the five steps. When you are finished, you will have a complete blended activity.

Step 1. Identify and reflect upon a prior learning activity:

Since we’re taking a previous activity or topic and redesigning it to a blended learning framework, we will start by thinking about that prior experience and how it worked for your class.

Key Questions:

  • What is the learning activity?
  • What worked well with the assignment?
  • What challenges did you or your students experience?
  • Were there special materials you developed for the activity or topic?
  • Was the topic formally assessed? How?
  • How much time was devoted to the topic in class? Out of class?
  • How much time would you like to devote to your blended learning activity in class? Out of class?

Step 2. Define your learning objectives:

The learning objectives are the foundation for the entire activity. Writing out clear and measurable objectives will help guide the remaining steps in the development of your activity. Remember to use a specific verb (avoid “understand” or “know”) when crafting your learning objectives.

Key Questions:

  • What do you want your students to know or do upon completion of the activity?
  • At what level of Bloom’s Taxonomy do you hope to position the objective (Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, Create)?
  • What are the specific learning objectives for your activity?

Suggested Resources:


Step 3. Define your assessment goal:

Without getting into too much detail, start to think about how you’ll know whether your students have met the learning objective you defined above. Think about what you’ll need to see in order to determine whether the students have attained the goal.

Key Questions:

  • How will you know whether your students have met the objectives you defined for the activity?
  • Will the student need to recall information? Demonstrate a skill? Produce something?

Suggested Resource:

Professor Erica Halverson’s video on backward design from week 2.


Step 4. Consider the blended learning models:

Before we begin planning the activity, think about the blended learning models and how they might inform your decision making and parameters of your activity.

Key Questions:

  • What physical resources do you have at your disposal to help meet the objective (classroom space, technology, text, articles)?
  • What virtual resources do you have at your disposal to help meet the learning objectives (learning management system tools, blog, media)?
  • What combination of virtual and physical resources might make sense as you look to plan your activity?

Suggested Resource:

Blended Learning Models & Examples (from the first chapter of this section).


Step 5. Plan and sequence your instructional strategies:

As we’ve seen, a blended learning activity can include a series of components that work together to meet specific learning objectives. Below are the key considerations. Depending on the length, complexity, and scope of your activity, not all of these may be elements to consider. However, keep these in mind as you plan for other blended learning activities or course design after this workshop and as you move toward a blended learning model for your course.

Key Questions:

  1. Managing your activity
    • How will your orient students to the activity?
    • What instructions are necessary for the student to be clear about the task and successful in completing the requirements?
  2. Cultivating the blended environment & facilitating community building
    • What will student-to-student interaction look like? What are the parameters, requirements, and tone for this?
    • What will student-to-instructor interaction look like? How will you facilitate this, and how will you communicate this to your students?
    • What will student-to-content interaction look like? What expectations, instructions, and levels of engagement will you convey to your students?
  3. Defining assessment measures
    • What scoring criteria or rubrics will you use for this activity? What information will you make available to your students?
    • How will this activity be weighted, scored, or assessed relative to the other assignments in the course?
    • How will you communicate to your students the goal and the importance of this activity and its assessment?
  4. Communicating precise instructions
    • What mechanical details are involved in this activity (e.g., number of words/pages, style guide for citations, number of posts to discussion forum, etc.)?
    • What tools or instructions to your students need (and do you need to make available to them) to complete this activity successfully?

Suggested Resource:

Instructional Strategies in Blended Learning

License

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Creating a Blended Learning Activity by Steel Wagstaff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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