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-- the Labyrinth December 1993 --

Interactive Learning Activities

Cinthia Leshin, MCLI
New learning paradigms often emphasize "interactive learning." Interactive activities focus attention on learning rather than teaching. Activities are designed to help students use and apply new information in meaningful or relevant situations. Interactions can take place between instructor and student, student and student, or student and media. Many interactive strategies can be adapted to different classroom settings. Listed are some interactive technology-based learning activities that you can adapt to your classes.

Subject Matter Experts as Guests

Laserdics, commercial video tapes, taped television shows, and videoconferences provide a source of teaching and learning resources. Students can view programs delivered by a subject matter expert and then be asked to discuss issues presented. Discussion forums might include panels or debates.

Student Critiques

Have students critique papers, art projects, or other assignments using Maricopa's Electronic Forum, video conference network (VCN), or your colleges fileserver. Electronic Forum can be used to have students share their work for feedback anonymously. Arrange for a videoconference with students from another college to share and discuss class projects. Use your college's fileserver to exchange student papers or downloadable projects.

Student as Teacher

Ask students to review a software program, a Hypercard stack, a computer-based educational program, or any other learning resource. Ask them to evaluate the program and do a short presentation to the class on what they learned, liked, disliked, or how to use the program.

Student as Researcher

Assign students to research a topic using several different resources: traditional resources (library, books); educational software programs on the topic (i.e., commercial programs such as MacGlobe or Regard for the Planet); local college fileserver (if available to students); and the Internet. Have them report on what they have found; how they accessed these resources; if they found them to be helpful; what suggestions they might have; what they learned; and whatever else may be relevant to your class.

Case Studies

Present the student with a case study of a real world problem. Provide them information on how to access several technology resources where they can find information on the topic. Ask them to research the topic, come up with the solution, and present to the class. This could also be done with groups.

Individual Practice

If you are using a laserdisc or a computer-based program for a classroom presentation, provide opportunities for students to view and use the disc or program. Create an activity where they must interact with the media to find information and write a report or produce a product. For example, use a program that simulates a science experiment. Design a lab report that students must complete based on the simulation.

Trigger Video

Trigger videos are very short video segments (1-5 minutes long). Ask students, working in small groups, to view the situation, identify the problem, identify different courses of action, and then make recommendations.

Alternative Learning Environments

Consider an electronic conference on a topic of interest. Ask an expert in a field to host this electronic discussion. Students can research the topic or read a paper or book written by the guest scholar. When they become familiar with the subject then they can participate in an interactive dialogue with the expert and other students who are participating in the conference. This can be done through Electronic Forum.

Student Design and Development of an Instructional Technology

Ask students to work in small groups and develop a short instructional program using at least one technology: video, laserdisc, HyperCard stack, program found on the Internet.
Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction (MCLI)
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