Building online tasks for your students

A regular theme in this blog over the years has been e-learning designs. Teachers can design their own online learning tasks for their students using sophisticated cloud-based authoring tools such as LAMS or Knowmia; or simpler tools such as Ko-su (for mobiles) or Ed Ted. Tasks can be informed by generic learning designs (sometimes called pedagogical patterns or instructional strategies), as discussed in previous posts. The webquestwebdilemma or ‘explore, describe, apply” (Oliver & Herrington, 2002) designs are simple examples but there are many other designs that can be tailored (or contextualised) to specific KLAs. Indeed, a project such as  the PEEL project has identified many effective science strategies  and many of these, such as predict-observe-explain , can be mediated by technology (e.g. see a LAMS-based POE or read Kearney , 2004). Initiatives such as the Dial-e project by Burden et al in the UK have taken a slightly different approach by exploring effective designs that can  be ‘wrapped around’ existing media assets such as Youtube videos (also see Bonk, 2009). Of course, teachers can also produce their own videos to be included in an online learning task.

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 6.13.55 PM

As well as enacting these designs with learners (e.g. in a classroom or perhaps on a handheld device in less formal spaces), the authoring mode of a system like LAMS can be used to visually represent a learning design (e.g. the figure on the left is a visual representation of the webquest design) to stimulate professional discussion with teacher colleagues.Designs can be shared with creative commons licenses and re-used in learning design repositories and teacher communities such as LAMS community , Knowmia or Cloudworks.

A more emancipative, constructionist approach is to let students themselves act as online task authors. For example, rather than students using a teacher-designed LAMS-based webquest, they design their own webquest (for their peers) as LAMS authors.

Source of image: Cameron, L. (2010). LAMS sequence: 4 role webquest. From

Bonk, C (2009). Using Shared Online Video to Anchor Instruction: YouTube and Beyond, Faculty Focus.
Kearney, M. (2004). Classroom use of multimedia supported predict-observe-explain tasks in a social constructivist learning environment. Research in Science Education,34(4), 427-453
Oliver, R. & Herrington, J. (2002). Explore, Describe, Apply: A problem focussed learning design. Retrieved August 7, 2013 , from Learning Designs Web site:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *