Identify Key Content to Cover

While writing your chapters, keep a list of key topics you want students to practice in Active Learning. You can also track content areas for which students will require extra help or review. This method has several benefits:

  • It reiterates the textbook’s most important content in Active Learning.
  • It helps students prepare for important assignments and major assessments.
  • It gives students more opportunities to study challenging material.
  • It ensures the Active Learning exercises and the text are truly complementary and the activities enhance the text.

To identify these content areas, you can review the topics within your chapters and use learning objectives/outcomes as shortcuts (as described below).

Align Activities with Learning Objectives/Outcomes

Learning objectives/outcomes (LOs) are superb touchstones throughout the process of creating Active Learning content. LOs capture the text’s most significant areas and identify what students need to learn in each chapter. This makes them desirable starting points for imagining and writing Active Learning activities.

To start, review each LO and consider how you plan to assess students’ proficiency in that area. Try to select activity types that will help students develop and display their proficiency in the content and skills described in the LOs. Consider the following:

  • Which activities will help students develop expertise in this content and/or skill? Will these activities be placed in Active Learning?
  • What graded assessment(s) will you prepare in relation to the LO? Will this/these be in Active Learning?
  • How can students study or practice in order to pass the assessment(s)? Will this practice be completed in Active Learning?

Then, as you write the activities, come back to the LOs as references. Review the main verb in each LO. Does the corresponding activity help students practice each action in relation to the topic?

For example, suppose one LO is Identify the components of a printing press. Here are a few activities that could help students practice reviewing this material:

  • Drag the words to match the names of the printing press’s components to their definitions.
  • Fill in the blanks to complete sentences about the various printing press components.
  • Answer multiple-choice questions about each of the printing press components.
  • Drag and drop labels describing the components on the appropriate places on an image of a printing press.
  • Drag and drop pictures of the individual components in the correct places to complete a picture of a printing press.

If a chapter has three primary LOs, a useful rule of thumb is to create a skill-builder to support each LO. If a chapter has more than four LOs, see if some activities can cover two LOs or more.

Additional resource: For support articulating learning objectives and outcomes, see Editor’s Toolkit: Goals, Objectives, and Outcomes.