Laurillard’s learning types for online and blended learning

For information on Laurillard’s learning types see our previous article Designing your teaching sessions using Laurillard’s learning types.

With UWE’s current blended learning approach, thought must be given to how online activities and technologies can be used to implement the six learning types.

Tools for acquisition activities

Reading material

Use Reading Lists in your Blackboard module to direct students towards items in the Library catalogue or more widely online. Remember that there are many ebooks and online journals available through the library which students can access without having to come onto campus.

Use Blackboard to give access to your worksheets, handouts, PowerPoint slides etc. Check their Ally score to make sure they are digitally accessible. Make sure there is a clear and consistent structure for your learning materials on the module site and that you are familiar with the guidance on the FET Module template.

Video and audio recordings

Use Blackboard to direct students to audio and video content which may include:

Audio recordings or podcasts can also be made with Panopto. If you are familiar with Audacity, it is available to download from the Software Centre, but there is currently no training available so only use it if you are already confident.

Tools for inquiry activities

Inquiry activities are based on finding the answer to a question; this could be a question you have set, or one your students have set for themselves. You may have introduced it in a lecture, handout or class discussion. Make sure all the relevant information about the activity is available on Blackboard.

Make sure your students are familiar with the online Library Services, where they can get advice on research skills as well as accessing the online catalogue.

Inquiry may also mean working with the knowledge students already have; this could take the form of a brainstorming activity using Mentimeter or Padlet, or using a whiteboard in a Collaborate webinar.

For first-hand research, students can use Qualtrics or Microsoft Forms to create surveys.

Tools for discussion activities

Discussions may take place asynchronously via text-based media as well as synchronous verbal discussions.

Set up Collaborate webinars for students to have verbal discussions. This could be a small, teacher-led seminar group, breakout groups within a larger Collaborate session, or you can even set up open-ended Collaborate rooms for groups of students to use independently. You may want to restrict access to these using the Group tools on Blackboard.

Students can also use text chat for discussion in Collaborate, or in Teams (either using the Chat function or adding posts to channels). Teams chat/posts can be semi-synchronous, if students have a pre-set time to work on this, or asynchronous, if they just add posts and replies in their own time.

Discussion boards on Blackboard can be used for asynchronous discussion in a similar way.

Panopto also has a discussion feature, where students can write comments or collaborative notes on the videos they watch, synched with the recording.

Padlet, Google Jamboard, Miro, Mural and various other apps can be used to aid discussion and group work by providing post-it note features and (in some cases) collaborative mind maps. These are not UWE core tools however. If you are thinking of using them, please consult our Other Tools page.

Tools for practice activities

Soft skills

Role play can be taken online using Collaborate webinars, where students can practise communication, negotiation, active listening and other professional skills. Practising presentation skills can also be done in Collaborate, or by getting students to submit a narrated PowerPoint presentation.

Cognitive skills

Various online assessment tools can be used for students to practise their skills and receive automatic feedback. See this article on Tests and Quizzes for some options.

Practical activities

These are the most difficult to transfer to an online environment. Some departments may have specific simulation software available. Interactive learning resources can be created to guide students through training in using equipment. The Faculty also offers a professional filmmaking service including 360 degree filming which may be useful for virtual exploration of spaces such as labs or virtual field trips. Whiteboards in Collaborate or other third party apps may be useful for practising drawing of diagrams or equations in a collaborative setting where feedback can be given.

Tools for production activities

Essays and reports

If the activity requires producing an essay, report, collection of notes or other written material in digital form, it can be submitted through Blackboard and checked with SafeAssign.

Presentations and videos

Students can give a presentation live in a Collaborate or Teams webinar, or record it using a narrated PowerPoint presentation or Panopto video. You may also want students to produce a video for other reasons, such as a practical demonstration, video diary or interview recording.

Blogs and Wikis

To encourage student engagement throughout the module, you could ask them to produce a blog or wiki that they update over a period of time. This can be done within Blackboard. Students can also write a blog in PebblePad which can be kept private, shared with certain people or made public. Other platforms such as WordPress and PBworks also exist.


You can use PebblePad on your module for students to build up a portfolio that can be shared for assessment. This can be particularly useful if the module includes an industry placement, or if the work the student does will be helpful to them in the future, as students can apply to keep their PebblePad account after graduation.

Tools for collaboration activities

Teams is a powerful collaboration platform where students can create their own teams and channels, share files, have online meetings and text chat, and work on documents together.

If you don’t need the full functionality of Teams but would like students to work on a document together, this can be done by one student hosting it in their OneDrive and sharing it with others in the group. This method could also be used in conjunction with Collaborate breakout rooms if you want live discussion while the group works on the document.

In Blackboard you can set up groups to give students specific access to their own blogs, discussion boards, Collaborate rooms or to allow you to email the group with tailored instructions.


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels