According to Fink (2003), there are two guiding principles that should be considered when choosing learning activities.
1. Activities should be chosen from each of the following three components of active learning:
- Information and Idea: primary and secondary sources accessed in class, outside class, or online
- Experience: includes doing, observing, and simulations;
- Reflective dialogue: includes papers, portfolios, and journalling.
2. Whenever possible, direct kinds of learning activities should be used.
These include learning in an authentic setting, direct observation of a phenomenon, reflective thinking, service learning, journalling, and dialog in or outside of class.
In this brief TED talk - How to Learn? From mistakes - Diana Laufenberg makes some useful points about this, describing the importance of the student voice and choice, immersion in real world problems, and experimentation and failure in learning.
This ability to experiment, persist, observe, learn and adapt in uncertain, complex and rapidly changing contexts is an important skill for our students to develop.
How can we continue to include more of these kinds of learning experiences in the classroom and online, and also harness students' informal learning experiences outside the formal teaching environments we provide?
How can we design in and value the processes involved in deep and transformational learning: time for understanding and clarification, experimentation, creativity of thought and expression, testing and failure, feedback and reflection, then sense-making and growth in self concept and professional identity - rather than performance of the right answer.
Fink, L. Dee (2003) Creating significant learning experiences: an integrated approach to designing college courses, John Wiley and Sons.