Course Resource Kit

Activity Alignment

Alignment keeps reappearing in all sections of this site, because it is such a key element of learning design. The resources in this sections offer ideas about aligning activities with learning outcomes and assessments:

The table below shows a matrix developed at Open University in the UK; it examines  the types of activities that can be used in learning environments, and their alignment to learning outcome verbs.  Rienties, Toetenel, and Bryan (2015) note that “[m]odules with a relatively high proportion of assimilative learning activities had significantly lower completion and pass rates than other modules. Furthermore, positive correlations were found between productive and assessment activities and pass rates, although these were not statistically significant.” (p. 318).



Type of activity



Attending to information

Read, watch, listen, think about, access

Finding and handling information

Search for a processing information

List, analyze, collate, plot, find, discover, access, use, gather


Engage with others

Communicate, debate, discuss, argue, share, report, collaborate, present, describe


Create an artefact

Create, Build, Make, Design, Construct, Contribute, Complete


Apply learning in a real-world setting

Practice, Apply, Mimic, Experience, Explore, Investigate

Interactive Apply learning in a simulated setting

Explore, Experiment, Trial, Improve, Model, Simulate



All forms of assessment (summative, formative and self)

Write, present, report, demonstrate, critique

Rienties, B., Toetenel, L., & Bryan, A. (2015). “Scaling up” learning design: Impact of learning design activities on LMS behavior and performance. In LAK’15: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (pp. 315-319). ACM.