Structuring learning activities

Atara SIVAN*, David Kember

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Examination of different learning activities can give an insight into their effectiveness for the learning process. The present paper seeks to identify basic structural features of learning activities through their analysis, comparison and evaluation. The paper suggests a structural framework for describing learning activities based on an exploratory study carried out within the Hong Kong Polytechnic. A total of 41 activities from six courses in three departments were involved. The activities were evaluated through participant observation, feedback questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with students participating in the courses. A factor analysis of evaluation data on activities of each course extracted several factors which served as a basis for creating a classification system of structural features. The structural framework divides activities into four phases: introduction, preparation, presentation and debriefing. The factor analysis has suggested the need to incorporate both the size and the nature of groups in each activity as combined additional elements. Differences were found between individual, small group and the whole class activities as well as between interactive and one-way format of activities. Analysis of students' evaluations revealed that activities in a group format and with a higher level of interaction were thought to be more educationally effective than individual activities or those involving presentations to plenary groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalInnovations in Education and Teaching International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education


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