Salmon suggests that all interactive learning activities should be:
- motivating, engaging and purposeful
- based on interaction between people – individuals and groups and resources
- designed and led by someone who understands their role and has learned the skills of online conference moderation
- simple, low cost and easy to run
- a ‘spark’ – stimulus, challenge, task, problem
- an online activity – students have to DO something
- a participative element – students have to respond
- a summary, feedback or critique – from the group or tutor
- guidelines – instructions for the activity, an invitation to take part.
Salmon’s five stages are:
Students begin at stage 1 where they require maximum technical and e-moderator support. As they progress, they develop in their online interactions, gradually developing and strengthening the learning community, requiring less support, and engaging more in personal and community knowledge construction. Salmon’s five-stage framework provides the scaffolding structure for learning and, she argues, each of the five stages requires different kinds of activities.