Active learning strategies: How to run online and traditional active learning classrooms?


Active learning is a quality indicator of course and program effectiveness. When instructors are able to engage students with the course elements, they are in a position to stimulate their motivation and provide them with meaningful learning experiences. They would be also able to materialize learning outcomes (LOs) of their courses and programs. Prior research seems to support this claim at different levels. For example, research findings show positive relationships between active learning and improved critical thinking skills, learning retention and transfer, motivation, interpersonal skills, and course success. Moreover, student LOs were reported to have improved across different academic subjects (Prince, 2004). The ability to run active learning classrooms is therefore essential to ensure courses and programs meet quality standards. Active learning is no longer optional for all types of learning, including face-to-face, online, and hybrid. As a result, the ability to engage students with course components through a variety of active learning strategies is a basic competency for all teachers to demonstrate.

Active learning strategies

Active learning involves a broad range of learner-centered instructional strategies required to enable students to take responsibly for and engage with the course multiple components, including course purposes (why to learn), material (what to learn), teaching and learning activities (how to learn), and assessment (what changed) (Shawer, 2022a). Engaging students with the course purposes concerns raising student awareness of why they should learn by activating the readiness and willingness to commit time, effort, and resources to achieve the course LOs. A relevant analogy of success at this level is a person who convinced a busy friend to go to the cinema to watch a movie.

Despite its importance, stimulating student interest and commitment to learning at the start of a lesson or course is not enough to keep them engaged. To maintain engagement with learning beyond initial interest, instructors need to use multiple content formats together with active instructional and assessment activities. A relevant analogy of being unsuccessful at this level is that although you convinced a friend to come to the cinema, the movie did not make that friend feel interested to keep watching. This means engaging students with learning is an ongoing process. To remain engaged with learning, students need multiple ways of engagement, representation, action, and expression (Shawer, 2022a; Shawer, 2017).

On then other hand, active learning is achieved through activities that provoke deep thinking where a greater degree of responsibility is placed on students. Herein, instructors can apply Merrill’s first principle to pique student interest through introducing a relevant problem. Moreover, instructors can use the second principle’s activities to activate prior learning and merge it with new learning. Central to active learning is for learners to carry out the activities themselves. For example, students can be busy reading or listening while taking notes and answering questions, thinking of ways to address a problem, as well as discussing, presenting, and defending ideas (Teaching &Learning in Higher Education, 2021). Below, I discuss these points:

  • Active learning principles
  • Active learning by engagement with the course purposes
  • Active learning by content
  • Active learning by teaching and learning activities
  • Active learning by assessment activities
  • Active learning by educational technology

 Active learning principles

Merrill’s (2002) five principles of instruction can help guide the design of effective and engaging learning experiences at different levels, including learning expectations, instructional content, teaching and learning activities, and assessment activities. For example, learning designs reflecting the first principle (learning is promoted when learners are engaged in solving real-world problems) are more likely to engage students with learning. This is because they engage students with learning through problem-learning, such as a real-world problem, situation, or simulation. Problem learning encourages students to:

  • Draw on existing knowledge to understand the problem.
  • Search for, access, collect, analyze, and use data from various sources to understand the problem.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of concepts relating to the problem.
  • Use existing and new problem-solving, critical thinking, and analytical thinking skills in contextualized and meaningful situations.
  • Use existing and develop new information and skills to resolve problems.
  • Keep their minds active until they clear cognitive dissonance by achieving equilibrium (solve the problem).

Using multi-mode activities is necessary to engage students with learning at the start of their lessons or courses. For example, instructors can mix solo, pair, small group, pair group, and whole group activities in ways similar to these:

Solo activity:

  • Ask students to think about what they know, what they need to know, and possible ways to solve the problem.
  • Ask students to complete the KW section of the KWL (know, want to know, learned) chart.

Small group activity:

  • Ask group members to share ideas to complete the KW section together.

Whole class activity:

  • Ask groups and individual students to share ideas with you (instructor) to complete the KW section .

As Fig 1 shows, Merrill’s first principle encompasses the first two events of Gagne’s nine events of instruction. The two events require instructors to gain student attention and inform them of the learning objectives. To draw student attention, instructors may build novelty, uncertainty, and surprise into learning. They may also ask students thought-provoking questions, and invite them to ask and answer each others’ questions. Moreover, playing a short video, listening to a personal experience, or a demonstration on the topic can pique student interest. On the other hand, informing students of the lesson objectives or LOs helps them understand why they should learn. In addition, letting students know what is expected of them encourages them to think of what to learn, why to learn it, and how to achieve it (Gagne et al., 1992). Moreover, active lesson planning, design, and development models, such as BOPPPS (bridge-in, outcomes, pre-assessment, participatory learning, post-assessment, and summary) could be used to achieve Merrill’s principles of instruction. For example, the first principle (engage) could be achieved through the bridge-in and outcomes activities of BOPPPS.

Merrill’s (2002) second principle suggests that learning is promoted when learners’ existing knowledge is activated as a foundation for new knowledge. This means instructors need to activate prior knowledge and experiences to help students make sense of the new learning and to engage with it. Although prior learning activation has already started during engagement activities (principle 1), instructors focus here on gauging the gap between what students know and are able to do and what they should know and be able to do. Building on what students already know and teaching only what they should know and do is necessary to keep them engaged. In contrast, teaching what they already know is more likely to lower student motivation and participation. Moreover, it can also incur classroom management issues. To engage students with learning, teachers can activate prior learning using the above engagement activities at the start of their lessons:

 Solo activity:

  • Ask students to think about what they know, what they need to know.
  • Ask students questions to prompt them to recall, describe, apply, and demonstrate prior knowledge and skills.
  • Ask students to think of possible ways to solve the problem.
  • Ask students to complete the KW section.
  • Ask students to suggest solutions to and address the problem

Small group activity:

  • Ask group members to share ideas to complete the KW section together.

Whole class activity:

  • Ask each group to share ideas to complete the KW section with you.
  • Activate prior knowledge and experiences on the topic.
  • Revise and correct misconceptions.
  • Reinforce correct and meaningful concepts and experiences.
  • Provide missing concepts required to address the problem.
  • Draw on student existing knowledge and experiences.
  • Help students build on existing knowledge and experiences (scaffolding).

Fig 1. Alignment between Merrill and Gagne’s principles of instruction

     Merrill’s second principle matches Gagne’s third event of instruction (Fig 1). Gagne emphasized that stimulating recall of prior learning engages students with learning because it enables them to  relate new learning to what they already know and experienced. To stimulate recall, teachers should ask students whether they have prior experiences or knowledge related to the new learning (Gagne et al., 1992). Activation depends on teachers’ ability to encourage students to make associations between prior and current learning experiences so that they are able to successfully merge them. It helps students to reflect on prior experiences, refine and correct them in light of new learning, connect prior and new experiences, and sequentially construct more complex schema (Shawer, 2017). On the other hand, teachers can apply Merrill’s second principle (activate) through the pre-assessment activities of BOPPPS.

Merrill’s (2002) third principle indicates that learning is promoted when new knowledge is demonstrated to the learner. As it will be discussed in the coming sections, teachers are required to use multiple ways of content representation. For example, they need to use texts, audios, videos, and graphs to facilitate learning processing and to maintain motivation. They should also use multiple ways of action, including a variety of learner-centered instructional strategies and activities. Moreover, students need multiple ways of expression, including multiple formative and summative assessment tasks to help teachers identify where students struggle, adjust learning, and measure course LOs. To provide effective learning demonstrations, Merrill suggests that teachers should:

  • Provide activities that address the lesson learning objectives/ LOs.
  • Demonstrate where target learning exists (through examples of where concepts occur or apply).
  • Demonstrate where target learning does not exist (through nonexamples of where concepts do not occur or apply).
  • Provide demos for how to do things (e.g., in a step-by-step fashion).
  • Model behaviors.
  • Direct learners to relevant information on the topic.
  • Give students multiple demonstrations on the same LO.
  • Compare and contrast different demonstrations to highlight aspects of learning.
  • Address different learning preferences/ styles of processing information.
  • Use multiple content formats to achieve the same LO.

Fig 1 shows Merrill’s third principle comprises Gagne’s fourth and fifth events of instruction (present information and provide learning guidance). As for how teachers can apply Merrill’s third principle (demonstrate), they can materialize it through participatory learning activities of BOPPPS.

Merrill’s (2002) fourth principle states that learning is promoted when new knowledge is applied by the learner (Fig 1). To keep students engaged with the new learning and to help them achieve it, students must have opportunities to practice it in contextualized situations. Merrill warns against emphasizing demonstration over practice and other phases. Moreover, teachers should provide students with multiple practice activities to help them apply new learning. For example, teachers should:

  • Provide practice activities for students to use new information.
  • Students may identify or say the parts and kinds of X, how to do X, and the impact of X.
  • Provide feedback on student performance to reinforce or correct behavior.
  • Coach students to overcome struggles observed during practice.
  • Withdraw feedback and coaching gradually as performance improves.
  • Coach students on how to detect and address mistakes.
  • Provide a sequence of varied practice problems for students to solve.

As shown in Fig 1, Merrill’s fourth principle comprises Gagne’s sixth, seventh, and eighth events of instruction (elicit performance, provide feedback, and assess performance). Gagne et al (1992) suggest providing opportunities for students to show understanding and ability to perform alongside feedback on how to improve. Students also need inside and outside classroom practice. Most important, they need feedback to know where they did right and wrong and how to correct wrong practices and overcome struggles. Moreover, it is necessary for practice situations to allow students to express different kinds of learning. For example, there should be situations where students should recall information and concepts (remembering) and make explanations and inferences (understanding). They also need to use information to do something and perform in authentic or simulated situations to demonstrate they can apply knowledge and skills (application). Likewise, there should be practice situations relating to analysis (e.g., diagnose strengths and weaknesses of something), evaluation (e.g., review an article), and creativity (e.g., write an essay, plan, or proposal).

Gagne et al (1992) also stress the importance of different kinds of feedback (formative assessment) during practice. For example, while confirmatory feedback reinforces performance, corrective feedback shows response/ performance accuracy. Although remedial feedback directs students to information and sources to improve performance, it does not provide them. In contrast, informative feedback provides the information and sources needed to improve performance.

Although summative assessments are used to measure overall achievement, they also encourage students and teachers to optimize learning. It is necessary for instructors to align assessment tasks and LOs, through assessing performance against the course stated objectives. To mark precise differences in learning between before and after instruction, instructors should pretest for the course LOs and mastery prerequisites. Pre-testing enables instructors to understand where students are so that they plan for where students should be. Based on pre-testing results, the impact of instruction can be observed more precisely on post-testing. Moreover, criterion and norm-referenced assessments should be used to measure student performance against a cut-off standard as well as against average group performance (Gagne et al., 1992). On the other hand, instructors can also apply Merrill’s fourth principle (apply) through participatory learning activities of the BOPPPS lesson design and development model.

Merrill’s fifth principle states that learning is promoted when new knowledge is integrated into the learner’s world. Applying this principle is necessary to keep learners engaged through experimenting with the new learning in authentic settings. Most important integrating learning provides evidence for learning transfer, the end-goal of instruction. The question now is: how can instructors help students integrate new learning into their lives? For example, they could ask learners to demonstrate new learning to and discuss it with others, defend it publicly, or create personal ways to use it (Merrill, 2002). To integrate learning into their world, learners also need opportunities where they can reflect on their learning, share it with others, and use it in context. For example, experiential learning placements and work integrated learning (WIL) must be part of the course or program design to allow students to use learning in meaningful situations. In other words, new learning is integrated when learners are able to use it to get things done in their professional and personal life (Instructional Design Australia (IDA), 2022).   To experiment with and integrate new learning, instructors may provide activities for learners to:

  • Demonstrate new learning to others.
  • Be challenged to defend new learning.
  • Reflect on new learning so that they can use it to solve problems.

Fig 1 further shows that Merrill’s fifth principle comprises Gagne’s ninth event of instruction (enhance retention and transfer). For learners to internalize and make use of new learning, Gagne et al (1992) suggest providing students with activities where they need to paraphrase content, use metaphors and examples to explain it, and create concept maps, outlines, templates, or proposals. Regarding how instructors can apply Merrill’s fifth principle (integrate), they can achieve that through the post-assessment and summary activities of BOPPPS. Most important, they also need to help students integrate learning through relevant WIL and experiential learning placements.

Active learning by engagement with the course purposes

Creating interest in the course learning is the gateway to active learning. Student willingness to commit time and effort to course learning must be encouraged in multiple ways. The goal of engaging students with learning is to motivate and give them a purpose to learn, as well as to direct them to become strategic (goal-directed), self-directed, and aware of the course relevance to them. “When students know what they learn is going to help them become more successful in their academic study and the workplace, they are more likely to engage with that learning” (Shawer, 2022b).

Teachers may start with showing learning relevance to students. They may list the reasons for students to commit to the course, and show how the course and program essential employability skills outcomes (EESOs) as well as vocational learning outcomes (VLOs) address their career goals. At the start of the course, teachers and students should create personal goals by showing how the course prepares for a particular career. Moreover, they should assist students to create learning goals to plan and manage learning and monitor progress toward goals. Through course outlines, teachers can show how their courses build on student interests. Assuring students of receiving the support and feedback they need to succeed can motivate them to take learning seriously. For example, students should understand the necessary course adjustments would be made to help them achieve the course LOs. Teachers can also quiz students orally in course outlines to ensure they are set for the course (Shawer, 2022a). In summary, teachers can create interest in learning at the start of a course, when they:

  • Show the relevance of learning to students (e.g., future career).
  • Help students to set personal and learning goals.
  • Address possible learning risks and suggest how students can deal with them.
  • Highlight the VLOs and EESOs relevant to students.
  • Explain to students why they should learn.
  • Build learning on student needs.

Active learning by content

Since it is unlikely for teachers to help all students achieve the same learning outcome (LO) using the same content format, providing multiple content formats is necessary to achieve active learning (Shawer, 2022b). For example, teachers need to use text, audiovisual material, animations, as well as images and graphs to address different learning styles (Nisbet, 2020). In inclusive classrooms, a single content format would make it difficult for all types of students to process and engage with learning, including students who have a sensory/physical disability (e.g., deaf students), learning disability (e.g., dyslexic students) and average students. For example, while it is easier for some students to better learn through texts, others learn more effectively through audiovisual materials (CAST, 2018; Shawer, 2022b).

Using multiple ways of representation is necessary to allow every student to process learning through the channels compatible with their psychological makeup/ style (Shawer, 2022b). Students therefore need multiple content formats to engage with and become able to process learning. For example, audio materials facilitate learning processing for auditory students. Had they been provided with written texts only, for example, it would have been difficult for them to engage with learning. Invariably, visual students who better process learning through visual materials would learn better through a visual content (Tomlinson, 2011). Shawer (2022b) summarizes how to engage students with learning through multiple content formats. He suggests that teachers should:

  • Provide multiple content formats (e.g., text, audio, video, image, animation, and graph).
  • Provide culturally relevant content.
  • Support difficult content with notations and explanations.
  • Provide background knowledge through appendices and hypermedia.
  • Provide explanations/ definitions of vocabulary, terms, and symbols.

Active learning by teaching and learning activities

Active learning cannot be achieved without using multiple teaching and learning strategies. Teachers must be able to create learner-centered, interactive, and inclusive classrooms, for example, through universal design for learning, personalized learning, multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), social and emotional learning (SEL), discovery learning, problem learning, and experiential learning. For example, competency-based education (CBE) engages students with learning through tailoring learning experiences to every student so that they can all succeed. This means active learning involves a variety of instructional strategies that keep students busy processing learning in multiple ways. In particular, inclusive models involve learning activities that fall within students’ zone of proximal development (ZPD), a key element of Vygotsky’s social constructivist learning. When teachers provide multiple learning options and supports and optimize learning demands, students are more likely to remain motivated. Optimizing learning, for example, can be achieved by addressing student ZPD. For example, a student who is able to achieve, say, 60% of a task without support, can achieve, say, 90% or 100% of the same task, when receiving support from a teacher or capable adult or peer. Likewise, other students would not be able to achieve a task unless they receive adult or peer support. However, the same students can complete that task when receiving support (Shawer, 2017).

Active learning also depends on students’ effort, who should get busy doing the majority of activity work. However, this cannot be achieved through passive and didactic approaches, such lecturing (Shawer, 2022a). In contrast, active instructional strategies, such as experiential learning, engage students with learning through concrete learning experiences that allow them to practice and apply new learning in context (Kolb, 1984). School teachers and college instructors can put experiential learning into action through simulated and authentic situations. Practice and simulated situations, which do not always involve a third party like an employer, are suitable for K-12 students. For example, schoolteachers can ask fourth grade students to measure the perimeter and area of their classroom or school playground. Likewise, college teachers can use similar experiential learning experiences. For example, in research methods courses, instructors can ask students to write and implement research proposals. In testing, students could design, apply, score, and interpret test scores. In teaching methods, they can develop and teach lesson plans. Moreover, WIL placements, such as internships and other forms of co-op learning, allow active learning in authentic contexts that involve a third party (e.g., an employer or a community service).

Teachers also need to provide multiple ways of action and performance to achieve active learning, including using multiple learning activities to achieve a single LO and adjusting task demands to student ability and learning pace. Moreover, multiple instructional strategies, such as punctuated lectures, cooperative learning, discussion method, experiential learning, lineup, fishbowl, and buzz groups boost student motivation and engage them with learning. Numerous activity modes must be also used in each lesson, including solo, pair, small group, pair group, and whole class activities. Moreover, personalizing learning, for example, through learning stations, task cards, free study, peer tutoring, and flipped instruction can keep students engaged with the course elements. In addition, guided practice (I do, we do, you do) is a great way for supporting and engaging students during lessons, starting with modelling target skills, moving to collaborative practice, and ending up with individual students performing the skills on their own (Shawer, 2022a; Shawer, 2017).

Academic coaching can make a difference between success and failure. While tutors help students address content issues through reteaching, academic coaching helps them learn executive and academic skills essential to keep going, overcome obstacles, and become lifelong learners (Shawer, 2022a). Academic coaching helps students develop transferable skills necessary for all students in general and freshmen in particular to succeed in all subjects, as well as in future careers. Students learn how to overcome problems and keep motivated. For example, they learn executive skills, including organization (e.g., managing stress, time, and self independently) and planning (goal setting, self-monitoring and testing, task analysis, prioritizing, time estimation, and project breakdown into manageable elements). So do students learn academic skills necessary for effective learning processing and management. For example, students learn reading comprehension (e.g., SQ4R), note-taking (e.g., Cornell and visual organizing), writing (e.g., prewriting, introduction, main text/ body, conclusion, drafting, and editing), and study skills. Without these skills, there are high stakes of giving up learning and dropping out (Studyspot, 2022). To engage students with learning through multiple instructional strategies, teachers should:

  • Facilitate learning processing through using multiple instructional activities.
  • Use multiple learning activities to achieve a single LO.
  • Help students demonstrate/ express learning in multiple ways during lessons.
  • Use multiple assessment tasks to measure the same LO.
  • Adjust task demands to student ability and learning pace.
  • Use multiple learner-based instructional strategies (e.g., Lineup, Debates, Complete Turn-Taking, Index Card Pass, Fishbowl, Snowball, Jigsaw, Dotmocracy, Quescussion, Think-Pair-Share, Buzz Groups, Case Study, and Group Text Reading).

Active learning by assessment activities

What students think they will be assessed determines what and how they learn. Therefore, assessment tasks must be designed in ways that keep students engaged with learning. Most important, the relationship between LOs, assessment tasks, and teaching activities must be explicit, direct and aligned. To keep students engaged with course learning, teachers must provide multiple assessment tasks for measuring every single LO through multiple and flexible formative and summative assessments. On the one hand, formative classroom assessments enable teachers to identify what students learned, how well they learned it, and where they struggle. This allows teachers to adjust learning in real time before learning issues escalate and before student motivation wanes. Moreover, students receive timely feedback, tutoring, and academic coaching necessary for them to correct the course and rate of learning (Shawer, 2022a).

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are effective assessment strategies for allowing teachers to collect and provide formative and immediate feedback during classroom learning. Two types of CATS, concept checker and performance, can be used for collecting and providing formative feedback to identify the gap between actual and desired student performance during classroom learning. For example, teachers can use think-pair-share, minute paper, application cards, punctuated lecture, and self-assessment to check understanding of concepts. As for performance CATS, teachers can use fishbowl, snowball, case studies, and jigsaw to assess student ability to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned. CATs are essential for both assessing classroom learning and engaging students with classroom activities (Shawer, 2022a).

Summative assessment, on the other hand, is also necessary for student engagement with the course elements. Summative assessment can encourage active learner participation when teachers design flexible assessments that blend summative and formative assessments. Let’s look at one example by Shawer (2021a) to see how summative assessment impacts student motivation and engagement with learning. Shawer calls it the open pathway to flexible assessment, where students choose from 6 outcomes-based assessments. While each assessment addresses a specific set of the course LOs, the six assessments blend formative and summative assessments. When discounted, optional assessments are considered to be formative. Moreover, their percentage in the final grade as well as their LOs are carried over to the next assessment. In contrast, optional assessments are considered to be summative when counted. Optional assessments, however, must be taken by all students to engage students in learning and monitor performance. The six assessment weights alongside LOs coverage are as follows:

Assessment #1

  • It counts for 5% of the final grade and covers 5% of the course LOs.
  • Students who are happy with their grade and achieve target LOs may count it in their final grade. In this case, they will not be tested again in these LOs.
  • Students who are unhappy with their grade may not count it in their final grade. However, they will be tested again in these LOs in subsequent assessments until they achieve them.

Assessment #2

  • For students who counted assessment 1, it measures 10% of the course LOs and counts for 10% of the course final grade.
  • For students who discounted assessment 1, it measures 15% of the course LOs and counts for 15% of the course final grade.

Assessment #3

  • For students who counted assessments 1 and 2, it measures 15% of the course LOs and counts for 15% of the course final grade.
  • For students who discounted assessments 1 and 2, it measures 30% of the course LOs and counts for 30% of the course final grade.

Assessment #4

  • For students who counted assessments 1, 2 and 3, it measures 20% of the course LOs and counts for 20% of the course final grade.
  • For students who discounted assessments 1, 2 and 3, it measures 50% of the course LOs and counts for 50% of the course final grade.

Assessment #5

  • For students who counted assessments 1, 2, 3 and 4, it measures 25% of the course LOs and counts for 25% of the course final grade.
  • For students who discounted assessments 1, 2, 3 and 4, it measures 75% of the course LOs and counts for 75% of the course final grade.

Assessment #6

  • Unlike assessments 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, assessment 6 must be counted in the final grade for all students.
  • For students who counted assessments 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, it measures 25% of the course LOs and counts for 25% of the course final grade.
  • For students who discounted assessments 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, it measures 100% of the course LOs and counts for 100% of the course final grade (Shawer, 2021a).

A variant of this flexible assessment is to provide half of the assessments as formative and half as summative. For example, assessments 1, 3, and 5 are formative, whereas assessments 2, 4 and 6 are summative. In this case, formative assessments bear low scores and are optional to count in the final grade. This flexible assessment allows students opportunities to improve at multiple points of time during the course. Since it is never too late to put learning on track, where students never give up hope. This encourages high levels of engagement as assessment focus is on helping students to achieve LOs anytime during the course (Shawer, 2021b). It is clear active learning requires a data-driven approach (a blend of multiple traditional and alternative assessments) to allow students multiple ways of expression and encourage them to keep learning. This includes alternative (e.g., authentic, performance, and portfolio), outcomes-based, and traditional (e.g., quizzes and exams) assessment tasks. It also includes flexible assessment tasks that allow students a voice on assessment weights, as well as on why, what, when and how to assess (Shawer, 2022a)

Active learning by educational technology

Technology must be an integral part of every 21st century form of learning. It is no longer an option not to integrate technology into the four curriculum elements, including course design, delivery, and assessment and evaluation. Not only is technology necessary for creating interactive learning environments, but it is also necessary for 21st century digital citizenship. Fortunately, countless commercial (e.g., LMS such as Moodle) and free online learning software (e.g., Google Classroom), coupled with high-tech hardware devices made it easy to design, deliver, and assess learning anywhere and anytime. For example, online platforms allow teachers to connect with students, track and manage performance, and provide personalized feedback.

Online software, such as Google Forms, Answer Garden and Padlet, facilitate immediate and formative feedback. For example, Google Forms allow teachers to assess learning using multiple quiz formats, as well as to collect feedback on each lesson learning through the survey feature. Not only do these Google features allow teachers to collect immediate and formative data instantaneously, but also to receive it analyzed in graphs and scores for the whole class and for each student. Likewise, platforms, such as Google Sites, Seesaw, and PortfolioGen help assess learning through digital portfolio creation. For example, students can use Google Sites to create portfolios by adding quiz and assignment results alongside multimedia reflections (audio, video, and written comments).

Although most active learning strategies (e.g., jigsaw, snowball, lineup, and fishbowl) can be adapted for online learning, teachers need to combine learning practice with immediate feedback. This means students need to practice new learning and take practice quizzes during online activities to remain engaged. They also need pair, peer, and small group activities through discussion rooms. Most important, teachers must establish online learning protocols, including setting task time and instructions. Moreover, instructors need to pause online presentations to ask students to join small discussion groups like Zoom Breakout Rooms. Instructors should also post the discussion prompt, time, and instructions in the chat window. Moreover, each group should post work through, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Jamboard, or Zoom chat window when they return to the main session (Cornell University, 2022).

Online discussion boards also allow students to interact with the course materials, as well as among themselves. For example, students can post questions and answers before or after class. To encourage interaction on discussion boards, students may use Social Annotation tools (e.g., Hypothesis and Perusall). Similarly, Group Creation on LMS (e.g., Canvas) encourages active learning online, for allowing instructors to create and view all activities within all groups. Moreover, students can create their own groups. In addition, instructors can assign students to groups and group leaders within a group set either manually or automatically. Instructors can also allow students to sign up for their groups, move them into different groups, and set groups for graded and ungraded assignments and in-class work. This facilitates semester-long projects because students can communicate and iterate on documents (Cornell University, 2022).

Learning experience platforms (LXP/ LEP) provide great help for instructors to personalize learning for students and engage them with learning. LXPs are learning software, which allow flexible and multiple learning pathways through desktop and mobile learning apps. Since they are based on API, which means they are not restricted by SCORM standards, they allow learners to access third-party and user generated content. This flexibility allows learners access to various third-party learning pathways. In particular, their inbuilt Artificial Intelligence (AI) capability helps instructors to gather data on performance and suggest alternative learning pathways automatically. Moreover, they can be used by employers and colleges to personalize learning and encourage lifelong learning in many ways. For example, they help learners discover new learning experiences and interact with the platform. They also allow both students and instructors to connect learning with performance. Based on learning performance, platforms, such as Mentorcliq, Learning Bank, Learn Worlds, 360 Learning, Thinkific, Bridge, Absorb LMS, Matrix LMS, and Talent LMS, suggest alternative or additional learning pathways to overcome learning obstacles and provide ongoing feedback on performance (Valamis, 2022).

On the other hand, instructors should be able to use recording and editing media software so that they can engage students with learning though interactive audiovisual materials. Instructors should be able to use recording and editing video software, such as Adobe Premier Rush, Adobe Pro, OpenShot, Blender, Windows Video Editor, Shortcut, Lightworks, and Video Pad (Damen, 2021). In contrast, they would also need to use recording and editing audio software, like Adobe Audition, Audacity, FL Studio, Sound Forge Audio Studio, and Wave Pad. In addition, they might need to use other software to edit graphics (e.g., Draw Pad), music (e.g., Mix Pad), and photos (Photo Pad) (Enfroy, 2022). However, many of the above software can be used to record and edit both videos, audios and other media. Overall, these software products allow high-quality trim functions, speed optimization, editing while importing new content, multi-cam editing (syncing clips from multiple cameras), and real-time team sharing with control over user access. They also support for a wide range of video formats and allow easy sharing of videos, with fast export to YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram (Damen, 2021).


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