Match the Right Activity with Your Course Content
What is the one type of activity that you can expect from most online courses? A worksheet, right? This is a common form of activity (useful at times) but not the only way to get your students to engage and do the work.
The biggest concerns of any course designer are:
- How will I make my course interesting?
- How will I get my students to participate and do the work?
- How can I ensure my students will LEARN?
If people don’t find your course interesting, want to participate or have not learned from it, then it will fall flat with them, others and in the marketplace.
Yet on the other hand,
CHOOSING THE RIGHT ACTIVITY
So let’s review how to match the right activity with the content to make a course engaging for your students.
It all starts with that powerful learning goal – what is one thing you want them to achieve after every single lesson? Put together, all the lesson goals help your students achieve the bigger course goals – they are completely related (… the thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone, etc.). Lessons are small steps to achieve the bigger target.
At the end of each lesson, ask yourself which of these do you want your student to achieve.
- To DO something (i.e. create, plan, sing…)
- To KNOW something (i.e. increased awareness, more knowledge…)
- To FEEL something (i.e. heartfelt realization, changed emotions….)
- To PERCEIVE something differently (i.e. new realization, mindshift….)
Learning goals can be different for every lesson in your course so don’t feel you have to create the same ol’ cookie cutter lesson or activity each time. If you do cookie cut, expect this… zzzzz.
ACTIVITY DESIGN EXERCISE
This is actually a fun exercise – one of my faves. Follow me as I envision (that’s right, visualize) how I see my students interact, engage and perform in each lesson within one course.
Course Topic: Finding Health through Foods
- To perceive food as a part of the body mechanism
- To choose ingredients for optimum physical and mental health
While this course is quite simplistic, the learning goals matched the activities as I envisioned what they needed to do or practice to ‘get it’ (learning goal) that was beyond reading content and nodding their head.
Here were some of my learning strategies:
- Opened with a myth buster about the impact of food using shocking materials
- Privately had them assess their food consumption without shame
- Shared the cumulative scores of good vs. bad foods to not feel alone or guilty
- Created a mini food trial to further prove about the effects of food
- Support the possibility of an emotional outfall through supportive journaling
- Provided a customizable shopping/eating list to start with baby step changes
I reached my course goals and provided a simple opportunity (without large changes or commitments) to improve their health, physically and emotionally through intentional and supportive activities.
When you create your course outline that includes lessons and activities, move away from the computer and give yourself some time to envision the learning. Jot down these notes and add to your course plans later.
- Chunk Our Your Course Content tutorial
- Building Course Content blog post
- Bundle, Pare & Deliver: Tips for Honing Your Course Content blog post