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Extend your teaching reach beyond the classroom with H5P 

Active learning is a teaching method supporting students to engage fully in the learning process, allowing them to constructing their own understanding of the content (Kovarik, et al., 2022). It’s clear that active learning produces better student outcomes and improves critical thinking skills, engagement, a sense of belonging, and more (Kovarik et al., 2022; Freeman, et al., 2014; Deslauriers, et al., 2019; McLaughlin, et al., 2014; Ballen et al, 2017; Marrone, et al., 2018).

But how can we support active learning online?

Self-paced learning

H5P (or HTML5 Package) is a free content creation tool that can be used to create self-paced, interactive learning activities on Wattle. H5P is asynchronous, which extends your teaching reach. Asynchronous learning provides learning materials that students can access at any time, and which is not dependent on timetabling or your own availability. While not a replacement for face face-to to-face teaching, this type of content can be ideal for preparation, review or self-assessment. H5P can provide resources for an engaging learning experience, on-demand.

Importantly, H5P can provide immediate feedback, helping students learn from mistakes in a safe environment. Automatic digital feedback can reinforce achievement, avoid misunderstanding and maintain engagement (Cavalcanti, 2021; Barana, 2016). Activity completion can be recorded to help identify student support needs.

H5P tools

A wide variety of activities can be developed, with content such as interactive demonstrations, virtual tours and timelines. Review and consolidation tools range from straightforward quizzes to detailed ‘branching’ case scenarios (see below). Options include:

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Interactive video: Transforms a video into a two-way interaction. Questions, explanations or pauses can be embedded, requiring students to reflect as they progress. Interactive video may be useful when setting up “flipped classrooms” to help structure pre-reading and other content.

Image hotspots: Interactive elements are added to images or videos, providing additional detail or assessing understanding. These are particularly useful for courses where visual representation is important, such as anatomy or geology.

Branching scenarios: Self-paced interactive stories with a game-like quality, allowing students to make choices affecting the experience and outcome. They can be used to help students explore different perspectives or assess their skills. Scenarios can be simple or as complex as you choose.

Question set: Produce formative quizzes for your students to check their understanding. Choose from question types that include drag and drop, multiple choice, mark the words, and more. Incorporate images or a success/fail feedback video for more engagement.

Once created, these reusable H5P resources have potential to increase student autonomy while decreasing ongoing demands on your time.

To learn more about using H5P in your Wattle site, you can visit the self-enrolling Wattle course H5P Explained, or email

All images sourced from (CC By 4.0) 

July 2023

Education Design team, Centre for Learning and Teaching.


Ballen, C. J., Wieman, C., Salehi, S., Searle, J. B., & Zamudio, K. R. (2017). Enhancing diversity in undergraduate science: Self-efficacy drives performance gains with active learning. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 16(4), ar56.  

Barana, A., & Marchisio, M. (2016). Ten good reasons to adopt an automated formative assessment model for learning and teaching Mathematics and scientific disciplines. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 228, 608-613. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.07.093 

Cavalcanti, A. P., Barbosa, A., Carvalho, R., Freitas, F., Tsai, Y. S., Gašević, D., & Mello, R. F. (2021). Automatic feedback in online learning environments: A systematic literature review. Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence, 2, 100027. 

Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415. 

Deslauriers, L., McCarty, L. S., Miller, K., Callaghan, K., & Kestin, G. (2019). Measuring actual learning versus feeling of learning in response to being actively engaged in the classroom. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(39), 19251-19257. 

Kovarik, M. L., Robinson, J. K., & Wenzel, T. J. (2022). Why Use Active Learning?In Active Learning in the Analytical Chemistry Curriculum (pp. 1-12). American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/bk-2022-1409.ch001 

Marrone, M., Taylor, M., & Hammerle, M. (2018). Do international students appreciate active learning in lectures? Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 22. 

McLaughlin, J. E., Roth, M. T., Glatt, D. M. Gharkholonarehe, N., Davidson, C. A., Griffin, L. M., Esserman, D. A., & Mumper, R. J. (2014). The Flipped Classroom: A Course Redesign to Foster Learning and Engagement in a Health Professions School. Academic Medicine 89(2), 236-243. DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000086