Online Learning Activities to build Learning Communities
Instructional Design

Online Learning Activities to build Learning Communities

Online learning is seldom complete without reinforceming activities which provide evidence that learning did take place. When designing any online activity with social media as an engagement strategy, the instructor must bear in mind Bloom’s Taxonomy (Sylvia, 2014).

In higher education and the corporate training environment, the focus is more on application and synthesis, as opposed to recalling activities. To improve the chances of transfer, activities that encourage deep reflection, retrospection, insight and community collaboration of ideas are highly recommended (Colley, 2012).

Active learning requires learners to think critically and reflect on what they know, as they actively engage in learning activities to make meaning of the content and acquire knowledge (Steveredes, 2012).

In this blog post, I will propose two internet learning assignments that promote application and reflection.

Online Teaching Activity 1

Task: Leadership style recognition activity through an eLearning game deployed on the learning management system.

Objective: To work as an individual and then comment on your peer. Play the game and share the result with the class under the discussion board thread:

  • Which leadership style do you have? Did you expect this result? Why or why not?
  • Comment on your peer’s result. After working with them in previous projects, do you think their result is justified?

Method: Asynchronous


  • You are assigned to work on this activity with one peer.
  • Click on the link to get to the eLearning module called What is Your Leadership Style?
  • Play the game and determine your leadership style.
  • Post your result under the discussion thread for this activity. Answer the first question. You will be awarded 10 points for your response.
  • Additional 5 points for a meaningful feedback to your class mate are available.
  • Post another response to question 2 for your peer. You will be awarded 5 points for your response. Additional 5 points for providing concrete examples you experienced with your peer are available.


This eLearning module was assigned to the course Fundamentals of Leadership. As a part of the learning objectives, the students are required to understand the differences between each leadership style. They are also required to apply their styles in their specific learning or performance context.

The goal is to be more aware of their leadership skills and improve them using techniques taught in the class. This activity is three-fold:

A) It motivates and engages the student through an interesting game-like learning environment.

B) It encourages connecting with the classroom through the discussion board using reflective writing.

C) It encourages peer-to-peer feedback for more experiential learning.

Online Teaching Activity 2

Task: Using your knowledge of the 4 Ps of marketing (product, price, place and promotion) play the game to discover if you are hired by the company as a Sales Representative or not.

Objective: To work as an individual. Play the game and share the result with the class under the discussion board thread:

  • Did you get hired in your first try? Which question got you fired? What did you do in your next attempt to get hired?
  • Write a reflection statement in which you discuss the four Ps of marketing and how uniquely are they applied in different business sectors.

Method: Asynchronous


  • Click on the link to get to the eLearning module called Sales Representative Job Position
  • Choose your avatar and enter the game.
  • Your task is to answer the interview questions using your knowledge of the 4 Ps of the marketing mix.
  • Play the game until you get hired.
  • Post your experience under the first question on the discussion board for this activity. You will be awarded 10 points for your response.
  • Post your reflections for the second question. You will be awarded 10 points for your response.
  • Respond to three of your peers’ posts. Additional 5 points for a meaningful response. This response should include any similar experiences, any misconceptions and what factors contributed to your attitude change.


This activity emphasizes on the application of the concepts and skills acquired through classroom learning sessions. It is presented towards the end of the unit Four Ps of Marketing. It encourages the learner to repeatedly retrograde their steps and reflect on the rationale behind their decisions to respond to the interview questions.

This exercise helps identify misconceptions or a pattern of errors as a classroom. It also promotes interchange of new ideas and experiences related to the unit.

Learners receive a variety of responses based on experiences of their class mates. In an online learning environment, activities like these lead to the establishment of learning communities, where the role of the instructor is that of a moderator.

Rubric for Grading Discussion Board Posts

Palloff and Pratt list the following critical thinking factors that can be used to grade discussion board posts. Each factor is worth 2 points if “satisfactory”, 1 point if “somewhat satisfactory” and 0 points if “unsatisfactory” (out of a total of 10 points).

  • Clarity of ideas and expression
  • Consistency of behavior and thinking
  • Openness to learning
  • Evaluation of material
  • Specificity of feedback

Evaluating Online Activities

Conrad & Donaldson’s research provides a valuable tool to evaluate online activities.
Checklist for Sales Representative Job Position Activity:

1. Is the activity academically oriented?

2. Is it content-focused?

3. Does it require learners to read one another’s entries?

4. Does it require peers to express what they agreed with or liked about each other’s work?

5. Does it require peers to express what they would improve in each other’s work?

Checklist for “What is your Leadership Style?” Activity:

a) Does the activity consist of more than just questions and answers?

b) Is it content-focused?

c) Does it require learners to respond to each other and build on one another’s thoughts?

d) Does it require team members to demonstrate critical thinking?

e) Is the team required to produce a synthesized response or end product?

f) Are team members held individually accountable for their contributions to the discussion or project?


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