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Use Interactive Tools in Online Learning

Use Interactive Tools in Online Learning

by Katherine Baeckeroot

There are numerous tools you can use to create an engaging, effective online learning environment.

When selecting tools for a course, make sure they:

  • apply to the program and course curriculum,
  • promote student learning, and
  • help improve your effectiveness as an instructor.

Additionally, map tools to the learning outcomes in your course. Aligning the course’s technological tools to learning outcomes promotes the goals of the course while maintaining a learner-centered approach.

The types of tools you use for an activity or project might vary depending on whether the learning outcomes apply to low-level thinking (such as recalling facts and remembering information) or high-level thinking (such as describing or analyzing information). Low-level thinking tools are less interactive and potentially less engaging. As you move into mid and high-level reasoning, the tools you use can help create fascinating and delightful experiences for the learners. However, it’s best to strive for variation and balance in tool selection.

Here are some example tools for low to high-level thinking.

Low to high level thinking tools

Adapted from figure 17.2 Technology and Learning Objectives in McKeachie's Teaching Tips, 14E.

When planning which tools to use in your course, refer to these best practices:

  • Consider learner comfort level with technology
  • Provide detailed instructions for each type of tool
  • Use a variety of tools to support different learning methods
  • Familiarize yourself with the tools and test them beforehand
  • Include selected tools in your course map

References

Kaplan, M., & Zhu, E. (n.d.). Getting Started with Technology. CRLT. https://crlt.umich.edu/teaching-technology/getting-started.

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