Active Learning Online


Eve T. Fogarty
Southern NH University
Institute of Online Education


This seminar explores how active learning strategies improve understanding, create retention and result in more excitement in the online classroom. The seminar examines the use of multimedia (PowerPoint presentations, audio files, and graphics) and other tools-- such as webliographies, case studies, debates, discussions, reflective journaling and e-portfolios—to engage students in directing their own learning. Participants gain insight into how students can take responsibility for their learning, and explore strategies for making this kind of online learning environment work.


Course Objectives

• Faculty explore their feelings about active learning (affective)
• Faculty utilize active learning in their own learning in this class (behavioral)
• Faculty become familiar with key active learning techniques (cognitive)

Module & Dates* Topics Lecture Materials & Readings

Session 1 (Face-to-face)

Questions about getting started. Meet peers.

Overview of course topics and discussion of expectations. Introduction to the concepts of Active Learning for Online learning
1. Review syllabus
2. Participate in introduction/ discussion activity.
3. Course expectations/ recommendations for discussion

Session 2

Integrating technology tools for Active Learning.
Innovations in Online Learning: Moving beyond no significant difference

Active learning online (WPI)

How Interactive are Your distance courses? A Rubric for assessing interaction in distance learning

Read the articles and provide your comments under the appropriate thread in the discussion board:

Session 3

Alternatives to lectures; experiential approaches to stimulate Active Learning; additional strategies
1. Article:
2. Online field trips Read the following articles and take part in the discussion (Discussion Board Question 1)

• Online field trips
• Webliography

Session 4

Software technologies, blogging, Tablet PCs, PDAs, and collaborative tools.
• Reid, R. (2004). Tablet PCs go to school. Retrieved February 8, 2004, from
• Windows XP Tablet PC Edition Product Information. (2004). Retrieved February 8, 2004, from
1. Read articles and discuss
2. Online field trip mini-projects

Active Learning Online


This course will require students to utilize the concepts being learned. Session 1 will be conducted in a traditional classroom over a 3 hour period (this includes 2 short breaks) utilizing a computer and projector (or overhead projector).


The goals of the first class are to ensure students have the opportunity to meet their peer learners , explore the topic of active learning, and understand the format of the class. Active learning strategies such as ‘introductions’ and ‘icebreakers’ will be incorporated into this first class to demonstrate their value experientially. Discussion concerning students’ expectations of the class as well as their understanding of the term “Active Learning” will be an integral part of this first class. Questions concerning the Syllabus and other aspects of the class will also be covered at this first session.


The goals for the additional sessions are to provide the students with information and exposure to a variety of active learning strategies and an overview of tools for integration with active learning.


A combination of lecture (first session) and the BlackBoard 6 online learning platform will be used to present the course. Students will have the opportunity to use active learning strategies in peer-teaching during the BlackBoard sessions. Each student will be assigned responsibility for researching and teaching one or more active learning strategies to peers for one week. Peers will be expected to take part in discussions concerning the chosen strategies of other students. In addition, students will post comprehensive feedback about their experiences exploring the selected active learning strategies. Depending on the size of the class, smaller groups of students may be assigned to work together in the peer teaching experiences.


Active Learning Online Outline


Session 1


Overview of the following:


·       What is “Active Learning”

o      Concept

§       Teacher-to-teacher, Learner-to-teacher, and Learner-to-learner

·       Why use Active Learning

o      Value of  “Active Learning”

§       Benefits

§       Disadvantages

·       How does Active Learning work

o      Input, process, and output

§       Multiple senses

·       Learning Styles (Multiple Intelligences, etc)

§       Forms of interaction

·       Brain-based learning

o      Student projects, responses, and other outputs



Session 2 (BlackBoard 6 Session – 1 Week)


In-depth discussion/research


·       What is “Active Learning”

·       Concept

o      Teacher-to-teacher, Learner-to-teacher, and Learner-to-learner

·       Why use Active Learning

o      Value of  “Active Learning”

§       Benefits

§       Disadvantages

·       How does Active Learning work

o      Input, process, and output

§       Multiple senses

·       Learning Styles (Multiple Intelligences, etc)

§       Forms of interaction

·       Brain-based learning

§       Student projects, responses, and other outputs

·       Sample Active Learning Strategies

§       Opening Exercises for the Online Class


Session 3 (BlackBoard 6 Session – 1 Week)


Indepth discussion/research


·       Experiential Approaches

·       Webquests

·       Online Field Trips

·       Webliographies

·       Asynchronous Debates

·       Writing Tasks

·       Action learning projects

·       Other Ideas (Student generated/researched)

·       Student Log (Online Blogs) or Journal

·       E-Portfolios and Presentations (PowerPoint)

·       Peer Teaching

·       Collaborative Papers/Projects

·       Multiple Expert Facilitators

·       Guest “Speakers” (Experts)

·       Buddy groups with mentors

·       Small, student-facilitated discussion groups

o      Including establishment of a “Water Cooler” discussion area online

·       How these strategies stimulate active learning


Session 4 (BlackBoard 6 Session – 1 Week)


Overview, discussion, and research

·       Integrating Technology Tools for Active Learning

o      Software

§       Inspiration, Mind Manager, MS OneNote, EndNote, etc.

§       Personal Brain

§       Grokker

§       BlackBoard

·       Whiteboard/Chat Sessions

·       Self-check quizzes

o      Establishment of Creative Toolbox area for ideas and input by all

o      PowerPoint Presentations

o      Flash (if available) for delivery of information

o      Internet Resources

§       Blogs

§       Tutorials

§       Research

§       School Online Library

§       Search Tools and Resource Management Tools

·       Google

·       Researchville

·       EndNote (software)

o      Collaboration Tools

§       E-mail

§       Whiteboard/Chat

§       Online Conferencing

§       WebCT

§       PowerPoint

·       How these tools/strategies stimulate active learning

·       Teacher Self-Reflection to Enhance Active Learning Online



In the online sessions, information to be covered will be in the form of reading materials, website research and review, discussion questions, and group work/peer teaching. Although many tools and ideas are mentioned, the focus of the lessons will be on the primary concept of active learning. The lessons are not meant to provide in-depth training on the many tools mentioned; rather, the goal is to ensure that the students have a solid understanding of active learning, and recognition that many tools are available to help them accomplish their own goals for ensuring active learning in their classes.