Utah Tech University Online

Active Learning Strategies
for Online Courses

What is Active Learning?

Active learning engages students, encouraging them to think, discuss, investigate, and create in the classroom. Students may solve problems, practice skills, or otherwise get deeply involved in the process of learning. And it is NOT limited to the traditional classroom—active learning can also be applied in the online classroom. Below are some active-learning strategies to try in the online courses you teach.

Arrange for students to experience applications of theories and concepts first-hand in authentic contexts

Examples: Volunteering, internships, portfolios, site visits, museums

Design simulated experiences that allow students to participate in situations unavailable to them in the real world

Examples: Games, role play, scenarios, debate, VR, online tours

Apply learning to a project that requires synthesis of information and skills, collaboration with peers, and creative media components.

Examples: Brochures, commercials, videos, charts, infographics

Use an investigative process including questions, hypotheses, observations, and conclusions to discover concepts

Examples: Webquests, enduring questions, complex/unscripted problems

Incorporate real-life stories that illustrate a concept to prompt students to integrate their learning with the real world.

Examples: Historical/current events, legal cases, documentaries

Challenge students to put course content to the test through experimental design and reporting the results

Examples: Home experiments, research studies, applied practice


Delegate students to take responsibility for instruction and become the teacher for a small group or partner

Examples: Jigsaw discussion, slideshow, screen share, peer coaching

Assign students to conduct interviews with individuals or organizations that work in the field they are learning about.

Examples: Interviews, observations, job shadow, surveys

Engage students in metacognitive practices to capture learning and publish their insights to an online audience

Examples: Journals, curating, social media, blogs, vlogs

Download the Active Learning PDF

Download a PDF version of the active learning strategy information on this page.

Active Learning Strategies for Online Classes

Contact Your Learning Designer

Are you ready to build a new online course, or refine a course you’re already teaching? Don’t hesitate to reach out to your assigned Learning Designer.

Contact Your Learning Designer