3 Using activity types to plan interventions
Assimilative activities are often used to introduce a topic and they tend to form a core part of all learning. However, Open University research shows that students tend to learn better when they are challenged to be more active with their learning and to debate, discuss, create, analyse, or explore, rather than passively receive information by reading, watching or listening. This means that using non-assimilative activity types is a useful way to help students to overcome the stumbling blocks you have identified for your tricky topic.
For example, if you think back to the optics and ray diagrams shown in Week 3, you will see that the teachers identified that students needed help with drawing ray diagrams and went on to design some ‘productive’ activities to help them overcome the stumbling blocks.
Another example might be that when teaching fractions, the teacher could ask a student to explain to a peer the difference between 2/3 and 5/8. This ‘communicative’ activity would be a good way to test if the student understands the component parts of fractions.
Assessment will always form part of the tricky topics process because there is a need to test students’ understanding of the topic.
Activity 3 Identify an activity type for your stumbling block
Using your own tricky topic, identify an activity type that you might use to create an intervention and describe why this would help the student to overcome one or more stumbling blocks.
Write your comments in this text box and then feedback your activity design through IRIS Connect (see Week 5, Activity 3).
You might also like to spend a few minutes looking at thefrom 2016 (Sharples et al., 2016) to look at which activity types have been used in these examples. List the examples in the report together with the activity type(s) that are represented in the text box below.
Table 1 Activity types
|Example from Innovating Pedagogies 2016||Activity type|
|productive failure||communicative and productive|
|learning through video games||interactive/adaptive|
|block chain for learning||productive/assessment|
Share your activity profile
Describe why you have chosen this profile and how it will meet the needs of your students. You could refer back to the needs analysis you did in Week 2 or the student profile you created last week. After you have done this, go to IRIS Connect and feed these thoughts back to the tricky topics team under Week 5, Activity 3.
It is important to note that this activity type classification is something that our learning design team has identified as a tricky topic for many staff at The Open University, so please don’t worry if you find it difficult to grasp straight away.