Learning Activity: the journey, or the end?

Is e-learning activity the journey, or the end?

Should learning activities embedded in an e-learning module be designed as part of the journey?  Or is it a tool to end the journey?  Learning activities used appropriately, can be used for both purpose. 

As part of the journey, you will find successful e-learning modules to include activities such as:

  • Simulation
  • Typing in comments
  • Answering questions
  • Taking on a cyber identity in the virtual world to carry out a task

Designed effectively, these learning activities can assist the learner in gaining a hands on feel of carrying out an actual manual task, and collaboratively summarizing and reinforcing the main idea learnt.

Learners need to feel empowered.  Having activities as part of the journey allows them to feel “I can do it!”

Courses that embed activities at the end of the module often use the learning activities to track the student’s learning, and hoping the result would give some qualitative or quantitative information that would allow justifying the implementation of such course, by show of return on investment. 

Don’t get me wrong, students do get empowerment from completing learning activities at the end of the module too, and that is “I still remember it, yah!”.

This brings us to the big question:

Learning Activity: the star, or a supporting cast?

Should instructional designers create activities so that it is a tool to support the content of the module? Or should contents and designs of the module support the big star that will always appear late?  What do you think?

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