Get Connected: Aligning Learner to Content, Learner to Learner, and Learner to Instructor Activities

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Assessment selection and content alignment ensures you are effectively measuring learner success. Whether you’re an instructional designer or instructor, this session will teach you how to align objectives with course content, select varied and appropriate activities, and incorporate alignment to keep learners focused and on the path to success.


Syleste has been an instructional designer and multimedia developer at USF's Innovative Education department in Digital Learning for 3 years, and has been working in education and instructional design for the last 9 years. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a Masters of Educational Leadership and specialization in Instructional Technology and Design. She has a passion for helping people learn and opening their minds to new experiences and possibilities using best practices in online learning theory and universal design. She loves online learning because it provides people with the ability to learn anywhere and makes learning more accessible to everyone. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children.
Brittany received her B.A. in Communication Studies, and her M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. She's been an Instructional Designer at the University of South Florida for over 4 years. Brittany loves collaborating with faculty and team members to design and implement quality online courses and programs.

Extended Abstract

Completing assignments and activities in an online course without properly aligned objectives and explanation makes student work appear less meaningful, especially if they are skipping over that important information to get to what it is they need to do. It can be difficult for a learner to complete an assignment successfully if the purpose for the assignment is unclear. It’s like going on a trip with someone to a specific destination, but forgetting your smart phone at home. You get lost, you lose focus, and you complain or bicker with the driver (the instructor). Providing learners with clear objectives and aligned assessments is like handing them a GPS with the destination already set. Learners know where they are going—and why—and are ready to ride along with you.

In all levels of education we know that aligning content, activities, and assessments with learning outcomes and course materials is important, as well as the selection of assessments tied to the overall course goals. Even more important is incorporating all of this information into your course material so that learners are not skipping it in favor of completing the work in the fastest manner possible. It’s easy to miss that essential piece of tying all the content together in a meaningful way in the online environment.

In this session, we will show you a quick way to evaluate your current online course, identify gaps in your content, and select appropriate activities and assessments that allow the learner to interact with the content, the instructor, and other online learners to aid learners in retaining content. Ensuring that those activities and assessments align with what they are reading and watching will prevent learners from losing focus, especially in courses that are content-heavy.

In addition, we will provide you with strategies to help you weave that alignment into areas other than those learning objectives and module descriptions that learners tend to skip and ask instructors about later.

Session Outcomes
In this session you will learn how to:

  • Identify and fill gaps in learner engagement throughout your course.
  • Select appropriate assessments and activities that encourage learners to interact with the content, the instructor, and other learners.
  • Align the overall course goals to your module objectives, content, activities, and assessments.
  • Incorporate content alignment throughout your course to keep learners focused on their overall goals.