Lesson One: Interactive Learn and Do


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Redstar.gif Lesson One: Interactive Learn and Do


An interactive "learn and do" learning environment can be described as that which incorporates a combination of learning and application of knowledge learned simultaneously or at least immediately sequential. This format of instruction would connect the knowledge students learn to the application of that knowledge in the classroom instead of outside the classroom at home or in a lab. The teacher is continually involved with the process and assessment is ongoing. Instructional design would have to combine learning, application and assessment. This structure is different from the "lecture and lab", "teach and test later", or "lecture and homework" formats where application of knowledge would be disconnected from the learning of that knowledge. Understanding the concepts of interactive learning is a prerequisite to understanding paired and collaborative learning.

While studying interactive learning in this lesson, we will examine ongoing assessment and cognitive apprenticeship because they are both important aspects of interactive learning environments. Ongoing assessment, as you will find out in the reading and video for this lesson, allows the teacher to continually assess student knowledge and understanding. It is better to do assess in this manner than waiting until a large project, mid-term or final exam is completed. The teacher is given continual opportunity to give feedback to students and help correct any misconceptions the students may have. The cognitive apprenticeship approach to teaching aligns well in interactive learning environments because of the practice of presenting models for the students from which they can then practice or apply new knowledge in the classroom interactively. As you will see, ongoing assessment and cognitive apprenticeship are possible and essential in an interactive learning environment.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson you will ...

  • Understand how "learn and do" interactive learning can improve student learning in your classroom and provide more opportunity for ongoing assessment.
  • Be able to design a lesson which utilizes interactive learning activities that allow students to apply new knowledge and skills in the learning environment.

Redarrow2.gif Reading, Reflection and Discussion


Shepard recites the history of curriculum design and assessment as background for where education came from to where it is today. He then presents a way to change curriculum and assessment and move away from standardized testing, or at least disallow standardized testing from dictating assessment standards. The most important section of this article is where Shepard begins to discuss "assessment to be used as part of the learning process" and the role of "dynamic assessment" (Shepard, 2000, p. 10). These forms of assessment practice require that instructional design combines learning, application and assessment, so that it can all take place in the classroom -- creating an interactive learning environment.

Read Shepard, L.A., The Role of Assessment in a Learning Culture.

When you read this article, reflect on and answer the following questions:

  • Is there anything that you do now that reflects interactive learning and ongoing assessment in your classroom? If yes, describe it.
  • What forms of assessment practice are you using in your teaching practice now?
  • Would you change your practice after reading this article? If so, how?

Reflection and Discussion: Post your reflection and read the reflections of other students. Discuss the different ideas that you find by responding to at least 2 other students in the class. Respond to students who respond to your own post.

Redarrow2.gif Case Study: Cognitive Apprenticeship -- Video and Discussion


The Annenberg Learning Classroom Theory into Practice series has a video which has examples of the cognitive apprenticeship approach to teaching. This is one approach to teaching which involves several aspects that are applicable in an interactive learning environment. The video shows examples of individual learning, paired learning and group learning. The classroom is shown to be a learning community of students and teachers combined. The classroom becomes a learner-centered environment where teachers can perform ongoing assessment throughout the lessons. There is continual interaction going on between students and teachers.

Go to the following web site: Session 8. Watch It, Do It, Know It: Cognitive Apprenticeship. You may have to sign up and login to view the video. It is free so go ahead and sign up. Scroll down to the session and watch the video. Note the characteristics of the learning environment in the classrooms. When you watch this video, the first classroom is an elementary school class but don't skip over it because several important concepts are discussed which are not age-specific. The second half of the video studies a high school classroom. Several of the videos in this series are excellent and you might want to go back and view more of them after you finish this course.

Discussion Question: Do you think cognitive apprenticeship is applicable to the classes you teach? If so, how? If not, why? Post your response, respond to the posting of two other students, and respond to the students who respond to your post.

Redarrow2.gif Case Study: Ongoing Assessment -- Reading

Read Blythe Chapter 7 which presents a case study for ongoing assessment and also identifies key features of ongoing assessment, other examples, and planning and teaching with ongoing assessment. An interactive learning environment must include ongoing assessment to complete the learning environment. You must assess what the students learn and what they do continually.


Redarrow2.gif Instructional Design -- Assignment and Discussion

Design a lesson in your subject matter that reflects interactive learning and ongoing assessment. Include the following elements in your design:

  • Objective: Describe the purpose of the lesson.
  • Goals: Define what the students will understand after this lesson.
  • Activities: Describe what the teacher will do and what the students will do.
  • Outcomes: Define what learning outcomes the student will produce to demonstrate learning.
  • Assessment: Describe how you will assess student learning outcomes.

Discussion: Post your lesson, respond to the posting of two other students, and respond to the students who respond to your post.

Supplemental Reading

Black, T. R. (2006). Helping novice programming students succeed. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 22(2), 109-114.

This article talks about using cognitive apprenticeship when teaching computer programming.

Bransford, J.D., Brown A.L., Cocking, R.R., Donovan, M.S., and Pellegrino, J.W., editors. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school, expanded ed.. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

To learn more about learner-centered, knowledge-centered and assessment-centered environments, read Chapter 6 in this book.

Interactive and Collaborative Learning Environments Home Page

Lesson Two: Paired Collaboration

Lesson Three: Group Collaboration

Resources and References