Generating Learning Activities from Course Material

In most circumstances, course content has already been established, and an educator is creating applied learning activities to enhance learning.

One approach to generating learning activities from content is to begin at the beginning, and look for core terms and concepts that learners need to Remember and Understand to perform higher-order cognitive processes such as Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create. As additional course material is processed, look for situations where the understanding of previous material is required to master the new material. This will give you an idea of how and when terms and concepts should be introduced in a series of applied learning activities.

Another approach to generating applied learning activities from an existing course is to begin at the end by looking at final examinations and capstone projects. Each of these can be deconstructed into their supporting knowledge and cognitive processes. The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used to examine the use of Evaluating in capstone projects, which can be examined for the use of Analyzing, which can be examined for use of Appling, which can be examined for Understanding and Remembering.

The Knowledge can be examined for Metacognitive knowledge on the approach to the solution. The procedural knowledge can be examined for conceptual and factual knowledge. Once this deconstruction has occurred, applied learning activities can be generated to systematically build the mental schemas necessary to solve the original examinations and capstone projects.

With either approach, or a combination of the two, the alignment of curriculum can be informed by plotting learning objectives, teaching activities, and assessments on the same Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy table.

Generating learning activities among courses

No single course represents a real-world position of employment. As such, what learners should be able to do requires integration of many skills and competencies from many courses. Learners ultimately should master the competencies of a program of study, not simply those of a course within a program. For this reason, applied learning activities in one course should reinforce learning objectives from previous courses. In addition, these activities should prepare learners for the courses that follow.

From an engineering perspective, learners emerge as output from one course, and are input to the next, until they eventually enter the workforce. For this reason, applied learning activities should be created accordingly, and shared among educators. In an ideal situation, an activity would be created for one course and reused in a subsequent course with an increase in complexity that more closely match its real-world whole-task counterpart.