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H807 – e-tivities Salomon’s five-stage model (A16.1)

June 3, 2011

I got to know Salmon’s five-stage model already during my eTrainer courses from the adult education centre, but I have to admit presenting and explaining it with cartoons is quite new to me, but I found it really great, engaging  and more than effective.

You might know this typical 5-stage model from Salmon, but have a look at the cartoons, here is an appetizer from the first stage.




“As you can see, our new online learner, Lou, is experiencing considerable frustration in logging on (the one with the hatchet!). The e-moderator adopts the role of ensuring access and welcoming and encouraging. Use of time and motivation to take part becomes an issue from the very beginning. Motivation is an essential element to get participants through the early stages of use of the hardware and software systems and towards engagement and mobilisation of learning.”

E-tivities at this stage therefore need to provide a gentle but interesting introduction to using the technological platform and acknowledgement of the feelings surrounding using technology and meeting new people through the online environment. Even the most apparently confident individuals need support at the beginning.

Salmon, 2004 defines e-tivities as a framework for active and interactive learning and she sees the need for participants in online learning groups to be supported in a structured way through a learning event. Practitioner might find it the five-stage model a useful framework and checklist for guiding the creation of online activities.

I think the differences described in each stage are relative clear, although I assume that at the last stages might blend into each other. It is a hierarchy, and reminds me a little bit on the associationist approach that assumes that the learning task are arranged in sequences base on their relative complexity, that smaller units need to be mastered as a prerequisite for more complex units. Learning takes place in small and logically ordered steps and from knowledge and skills needs to be taught from the bottom-up.

However, in contrast to the associationist approach, includes Salmon’s model as well a cognitive/constructivist approach where learners search for meaning through activity is central, ans which stresses on collaborative creation of meaning for individuals and groups through discussion and reflection. It is thus again a blend of different approaches.

Proceeding through all the five-stages fo Salmon’s model would be ideal, within my design I will strive to achieve that.  The key principles for building e-tivities might be also helpful and a good guidance for our own learning design.

As a learner during my eTrainer course the instructors applied Salmon’s model quite effectively. Their welcome was alway warm and cordial and thoroughly explained the technology and provided e-tivities to explore the environment. Ice breaker activities led to the next stage of online socialization and so on. They provided a pretty good example how Salmon’s model could be effectively applied, but it also demonstrated that each stage requires different kinds of activities.


All things in Moderation (2004) Running E-tivity plenaries (accessed 2 June 2011)

All things in Moderation (2004) Extracts – Building e-tivities, key principles  (accessed 2 June 2011)

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