Learning activity design

Learning activities need to be aligned with learning outcomes and assessment to provide students with opportunities to develop relevant and appropriate skills, knowledge, values, and attitudes.

The importance of learning activities

Learning activities play an important role in student learning and engagement. Students benefit from the opportunity to reflect upon their learning and to ascertain progression towards outcomes.

The teacher's fundamental task is to get students to engage in learning activities that are likely to result in achieving [the intended learning] outcomes. It is helpful to remember that what the student does is actually more important than what the teacher does. (Schuell, 1986, p.429)

Learning activities should:

  • align to outcomes and assessment
  • engage students in active learning
  • facilitate the practice of core skills prior to assessment
  • provide feedback on student progress towards outcomes
  • be accessible for all students.

Types of learning activities

Diana Laurillard's Conversational Framework (2012) identified six types of learning activities.


Source: Optimising blended and online learning, Diana Laurillard Professor of Learning with Digital Technology, UCL Knowledge Lab

There are different techniques to embed learning. Your strategies might be different depending on what you're teaching or learner preferences.

Type 1


Learning through acquisition is when teachers engage students with theories, concepts, and ideas.

For example:

  • reading books, journal articles, or websites
  • attending face-to-face presentations, or synchronous lectures/tutorials
  • watching videos, demonstrations, animations, or
  • listening to podcasts or lecture recordings.
Type 2


Students are supported and guided by teachers to explore and compare theories, concepts, and ideas to develop their own conceptual understanding.

For example:

  • research concepts, theories, or events
  • explore and analyse data
  • compare different ideas to critique practice
  • formulate solutions to problems
  • fieldwork, work-integrated learning, and placements
Type 3


Students use their emerging conceptual understanding to put theory into practice, and utilise feedback to amend their actions and understanding.

For example:

  • test solutions to problems
  • simulations
  • role-play
  • games
  • fieldwork, work-integrated learning, and placements
Type 4


Students produce an output to represent their conceptual understanding. The intention of production is to consolidate learning through the process of producing an output.

For example:

  • ePortfolios
  • digital posters
  • video and audio presentations
  • written texts
  • infographics and concept maps
  • blogs, journals, and wikis
Type 5


Students engage with their peers and teacher to articulate and share their ideas and questions. Through discussion, students are able to enhance their conceptual understanding and generate more questions and ideas.

For example:

  • think-pair-share
  • jigsaw
  • in-class or online synchronous discussions
  • online asynchronous discussions
  • polling
Type 6


Students work with their peers to address a problem or to complete an output. Collaboration often involves discussion and production.

For example:

  • think-pair-share
  • jigsaw group activities
  • project-based work
  • team problem solving
  • collaborative problem solving
  • peer feedback

Laurillard, Diana. (2012). Teaching as a design science. In Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Routledge.

What are the six learning types?

For more information on this framework and the different types of learning activities, please watch the following video:

Learning activity ideas

For some great ideas and suggested digital learning activities, see the NSW Department of Education website.

Explore learning activities

Planning for teaching

After you have designed your learning activities, it's time to start planning for your teaching.

Start planning