Top 10 Authentic Learning Assessments & Activities for Online

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Help students make the connection between the knowledge taught in class and real-world issues, experiments, applications, and problems by designing and incorporating authentic learning in your online classroom.  This active engagement session paints a picture of what authentic learning looks like in the online environment, design elements, and ways to effectively incorporate this strategy into your teaching.


Over 20 years in adult education and curriculum development. Online learning is my modality and I partner with e-learning developers to implement best practices in instructional design and educational pedagogy for teaching and learning.
Kim is the Anderson Distinguished Professor and the Associate Director of the Interprofessional Academy of Educators at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She has been involved in sonography education at UNMC since 1991 and has served as the Director of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography education program since 1998. Kim is a Fellow in the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, currently serving on its board of directors, the SDMS Foundation and multiple committees. She is an active member of the Nebraska Society of Radiologic Technologists, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and the Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences. She has authored more than 40 publications related to sonographic clinical practice and education and has presented at numerous state, national, and international conferences. Her research interests include open book testing, mindfulness in the classroom, and simulation in medical education.

Extended Abstract

Authentic learning occurs when educators provide meaningful opportunities and appropriate support for all students to engage in self-directed inquiry, problem solving, critical thinking and reflection in real world and creative contexts.  (State University of New York at Oswego School of Education Conceptual Framework, 1998)

Authentic Learning in the online classroom helps the students make the connection between the knowledge taught and real-world issues, experiments, applications, and problems.  This active engagement session paints a picture of what authentic learning looks like in the online environment, design elements, and ways this to effectively incorporate this strategy into your teaching.

At the end of this session participants will be able to:

  • Describe authentic learning
  • Give examples of online authentic learning activities

Authentic learning in online classrooms provides the opportunity to utilize technology in the design and creation of truly innovative authentic learning environments.  Throughout this presentation we will unpack how authentic learning incorporates a wide variety of educational and instructional techniques focused on connecting what students are taught to real-world issues, problems, and applications.   Authentic Learning improves student engagement by moving from one-way transfer of information to learner-centered methods with a variety of activities, opportunities for collaboration, and team problem solving. 

To keep this session engaging these seasoned presenters will reveal and discuss their “Top 10” list online authentic learning activities and assessments.  Participants will receive the printed and online link to the UNMC infographic, “Ten Design Elements of Authentic Learning”. adapted from Lombardi, M. (2007). Authentic learning for the 21st century: An overview. EduCause Learning Initiative. ELI Paper 1:2007

For active engagement in this session participants will use an online polling app to respond and rate each strategy presented on how likely they are to try to implement the strategy.  Rating scale for polling:   1)  No way!  2) Maybe. 3)  Very likely.  Presenters will facilitate whole group discussion about the benefits, logistics, or challenges with each instructional approach.