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Activities between sessions


Activities between sessions take place outside the classroom. They are very important for student learning processes. The aim of activities between sessions is to support the students’ commitment to their own learning process. Clear communication of the learning objectives and criteria for performing specific activities sets the framework for the student’s learning process.



Activities between sessions support learning outcomes

Activities between sessions support the quality of the learning process and are very important for this process. The term ‘activities between sessions’ refers to the activities which students must carry out independently outside the classroom. Activities between sessions depend on students managing their own learning process and having confidence in their ability to cope.

Activities between sessions are an important part of the time spent by students outside the classroom. The academic activities should be initiated by the students, but are framed by the teachers. The students’ learning outcome depends on them working efficiently with the material in question. So an efficient framework for the students’ learning process and study progress is important. The teacher needs to indicate how to work with the subject material and which direction the students should be working in.

Self-regulated learning strengthens the learning process

The work done by students and their commitment to their own learning are vital ingredients in the learning process. So it can be very beneficial to encourage the students’ hard work, understanding and sense of autonomy. Self-regulated learning is a strategy through which students take responsibility for their own learning. But the teaching is always the teacher’s responsibility.

Self-regulated learning is initiated, managed and controlled by the students themselves. Self-regulating students possess meta-cognitive abilities enabling them to monitor the progress of their own learning process and identify any difficulties in the material they are studying. They can then ask for the support they need from the teacher.

Teachers encourage self-regulated learning

Your job as a teacher is to give the students opportunities to develop strategies for self-regulated learning outside the classroom. This means that you must try to stimulate the students’ involvement in the activities which are part of their preparation for class.

You can choose activities based on the goals of each classroom session in a way that makes the students feel that the preparation and the teaching are connected. It is important to activate the students’ prior knowledge whenever they have to learn something new. This will help them to connect new knowledge to established knowledge – making it easier to remember the things they learn along the way. For instance, as part of their preparation students could be asked to reflect on what they already know about a specific topic, or answer questions about the literature they read in preparation for class.

The learning objectives of each activity must be stated clearly

It is important to state the learning objectives clearly so that students are aware of the purpose of each activity. The learning objectives must be supported by clear criteria regarding their fulfilment. Your role is to present the students with useful methods, to present issues clearly, and to set the framework for the efficient collection of knowledge, enabling the students to work independently on specific activities.


Teachers should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Which type of activity will best support the teaching?
  • What is the academic purpose of the activities?
  • How should the activities be structured?
  • When should each activity start and how long should it last?
  • What is my role as a teacher in each activity?
  • How many times should each activity be repeated? Should it ve a one-off to add variety, or should it be repeated to create academic routines? 



Further Reading

  • Brandsford, J. D., Brown, A & Cocking, R. R. (2000): How People learn, Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, D. C. National Academic Press.
  • Darling, Hammond, Linda  (2008): Powerful Learning: What we know about Teaching for Understanding. San Francis co, Jossey-Bass.
  • Pintrich, P (2002): The role of Metacognitive Knowlegde in Learning, Teaching, and Assessing. Theory into Practice, 41 (4), 219 - 225.


Preben O Kirkegaard

Associate professor