Two instructional designers each create an activity to teach a concept. In both activities the learners perform the same actions. Yet one activity works much better than another. Why? Often the success of an activity depends on more than what actions are assigned to learners. It also depends on how the activity is designed—that is, how clearly it is organized, how it is presented to learners, how their actions are guided, what external resources are used, and how the instructor's workload is managed.
Successful activities precisely target learners and what they need to learn. Before you begin designing an activity, make sure you can answer these questions:
What is the purpose? What exactly are learners to learn? Which learners? All or just a specific group?
How long will learners require to complete the activity?
How open-ended should the response be? Do learners need the scaffolding of a form with specific slots with clear labels? Or should they be left to organize the response themselves?
How will the submissions be evaluated?
Will the responses of one learner be available to others? Only after all are submitted? Or posted as received, awarding bonus points for early postings?
One of the most common complaints of learners is "1 didn't understand what I was supposed to do. The instructions were not clear." One of the most common complaints of instructors is, ...