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Distance Education

Instructional Strategies Using Technology

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Pedagogical Approaches Using Technology

When instructors use a variety of instructional strategies integrated with carefully selected technology tools, students can become more engaged in the learning process.

This knowledge base highlights a variety of topics, strategies and digital tools commonly used to promote student learning across a variety of disciplines.

Click on a category below to find information for specific pedagogical topics, including a selection of reccomended digital tools, and additional related resources.


Active Learning Strategies

Active Learning

Active learning puts an emphasis on developing the students’ conceptual understanding by engaging students in activities that promote higher-order thinking, such as discussing, debating, writing, and creating. There are no limitations to active learning, as activities can take place in face-to-face or online classrooms and be completed in large or small groups or individually.

 Student Response Systems

Student response systems are tools that can poll students, then capture and display the results for a class to see and discuss. Student response systems promote active learning, engage students, encourage participation, check knowledge, and provide immediate feedback. 



Formative Assesments

Formative assessment helps students become aware of any gaps that exists between their desired goal and their current skill, and guides them through actions required for successful learning. There are varieties of formative assessment tools available that assist in evaluating mastery of course material and providing effective feedback.

Summative Assessments

Summative assessments evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard, objective, goal or benchmark. There are many digital tools available for the actual summative assessment, and management of associated data. 


An electronic portfolio, or ePortfolio, is a compilation of student work from a course or a series of courses, course practicums, internships, and/or volunteer experiences. Students may include a number of different artifacts to exemplify their talents and academic and professional growth, such as electronic presentations, audio and video projects, and research papers.  

Feedback/Self Check

Providing quality feedback and teaching self-checking skills allows students to develop as independent learners in order to be successful in their higher education programs and in their professional lives post-graduation. Technology can involve students in the feedback process encouraging both reflection and dialogue around the reviewed work. 


Collaborative  and Cooperative Learning


Brainstorming is a type of active learning in which the instructor poses a question or problem and students generate as many ideas as possible within a specified time frame. Students are able to brainstorm independently or collaboratively using a variety of  digital tools. 

Cooperative Learning

Collaborative learning is an activity where two or more students work together in a group with a specified project to achieve a common goal. The Instructional technologies included here can enhance the ability of student teams to collaborate effectively, by providing communication tools as well as applications for sharing and publishing work.


Students can work through concepts from course content by formulating ideas in their own words in a Discussion Board format. Synchronously or asynchronously, students can clarify understanding, debate topics, organize ideas, and practice skills.


Peer Learning

Peer Learning differs from collaborative learning in that during periods of peer learning, students are learning alongside each other.  With the reccomended tools here, students are able to explain their ideas and give each other feedback as well as develop interpersonal, communication, and critical thinking skills. 


Social Media/Learning Communities

Social media promotes self-directed learning, preparing students to search for answers, think critically and make decisions independently. The social media applications suggested here can provide deeper, richer learning experiences with a variety of feedback, dialogue, and cooperation opportunities. 


Creating and Working with Content 

Case Studies

Incorporating case studies into instruction is a type of active learning in which students read or watch a scenario, then, using supporting data or an open ended question, respond on the content presented. By completing case study assignments, students practice identifying a problem, recognizing and expressing a point of view, and determining practical solutions.  

 Concept Mapping

Concept mapping allows students to visualize relationships between concepts. Students can construct a concept map by organizing concepts or topics hierarchically with the most general concepts at the top followed by more specific concepts.  

 Multimedia Instruction

Multimedia Instruction involves the use of diverse types of media such as text graphics, video, and interactivity to convey an instructional message. There are a variety of methods and tools to create multimedia materials available and can be found here.  

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling, a blend of video, audio, images and text to convey stories, information and ideas, allows students to write in a more compelling and interactive format.  Here you will find Digital Storytelling tools to create and share digital media projects using elements such as: images, voice, sound, and ways to balance between audio and visual. 

Universal Design for Learning

The universal design approach is to create products and/or environments that are designed, to accommodate individuals with a wider range of abilities and disabilities. Digital resources are helpful in creating both accessible curriculum and environments.  


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