Great Online Learning

4 Ways to make online learning fun

Icebreakers for Introductions

Starting a new online course? Use an icebreaker game to get students working together. Watkins (2005) states "when a variety of interactive e-learning experiences are included, retention rates can be improved, learner participation can be increased, learning objectives can be achieved, online learning communities can be developed, and online courses that engage learners can be created" (para 7).

Examples include:

Let Me Introduce-this online adaptation involves students in interviewing other students and posting online introductions of their partners.

Websites About Myself-students introduce themselves by identifying websites that illustrate their interests and backgrounds and then are encouraged to discuss similar and different interests with their peers.


Watkins, R. (2005). Developing interactive E-learning activities. Performance Improvement, 44(5), 5-7. Retrieved from

Interactive Assignments Create Community

Use Wikis to create community in the online classroom. "Wikis provide a vehicle for exercising most, if not all, of Bloom’s ‘higher order thinking’ activities" (Vanderbuilt University Center for Teaching, 2014, para. 1). Wikis allow students to build knowledge through collaboration and are a great way to develop critical thinking and team-work skills.

Wiki assignment suggestions:

E-portfolios of student work

Annotated bibliographies

Glossaries of terms and course content outlines created by instructors and students

Research papers

Course document links from instructors

Associated course reference and information links by students


Vanderbuilt University Center for Teaching. (2014). Wikis. Retrieved from Vanderbuilt University Center for Teaching, Teaching Topics-Online Education-Wikis website.

Use Podcasts and Vodcasts for digital communication

Podcasts and vodcasting allow educators to engage students digitally. They can be used by instructors to present information or by students to create assignments.

Instructors use Podcasts/Vodcasts:

Course expectations Projects

Course content Interviews

Review sessions Radiostyle broadcasts


Students use Podcasts/Vodcasts:

Document interviews

Student projects

Student created reviews

Sharing supplemental course information


Educational technology network, Podcasting and Vodcasting. (2009). Retrieved from

online culture of community

These tools can be used to create an online community of inquiry and collaboration. Collaboration and community build critical thinking and problem-solving skills, enhance learning outcomes, diminish the threat of learner isolation, and enhance learner experiences by providing resources to share ideas and receive feedback from peers and facilitators (Stavredes, 2011, p. 131).


Stavredes, T. (2011). Effective online teaching: Foundations and strategies for student success. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database