What have you learned about developing an effective online course?
I learned that there are many things that need to be taken into consideration when creating an effective online course.
First of all, the different generations of learners and how much training they might need on the technology to begin with is one of the main things an online course developer needs to keep in mind. Some learners might need tutorials on how to navigate the Learning Management System (LMS) and even the acronyms and jargon used within eLearning.
There is also a growing amount of eLearning tools that are available for use but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be used. As course creators, we need to be careful when choosing tools as there is potential for tools to impede rather than enhance learning.
Quality guidelines are the foundation of an effective online course. Without them, it would be very hard to stay organized when creating a course and make sure that all the different aspects of the course is to high standards.
One of the biggest things that I am taking away from this course is that it was a really good model of what a course should look like after having absorbed all the information from the course itself. I really appreciate that as I am a big fan of using the method to teach the method.
How does this fit with your experience? What would you like to emulate from your own successful elearning experiences? What would you like to improve upon so that your own learners have a more positive experience?
The things I am taking away from the course are things that give me little ‘aha’ moments when I reflect on my previous experiences in online course creation. I would like to emulate activities and the layout and organization of courses that I have taken. I also have a new found appreciation of how much work those instructors put into creating the online courses that I have taken.
My online work experience is mostly as a learner or in teams. When working in teams, I think it is really important to communicate with each other. In one of the projects I worked on, there were times I understood what we were doing but there were also times where I was just given the outline on paper and then had to create a courses from that. I didn’t really think to take a step back and look at how the course outline on paper might translate to an online course. I just uploaded the content and materials into an online course and then had to backtrack after seeing it laid out in an online course. I ended up reorganizing everything and simplifying some of the components. I think that situation that I found myself in was one where having quality guidelines would have been very useful. I think the original creator of the course had a lot of classroom experience but not as much online experience. It also didn’t help that we were not working at the same physical location and had limited communication. I think that in order to be more efficient and for everyone on a learning development team to be on the same page, some kind of quality guidelines checklist is an absolute must. This is the area that I will definitely spend more time on from now on.
What new insights do you now have? How has your thinking changed around creating effective online courses after taking EDUC 4150?
One of the biggest insights I got from this course is that content is not the driver of an online course. You could have the most riveting content but ultimately, it is the way it is presented and the way learners get to interact with the content that truly makes it a successful and engaging course. Creating an effective online course can be a really creative process but it needs to start as a methodical process to ensure that guidelines are met and that the creativity is not overtaking the effectiveness of the course. It has to be very well organized and sequenced and checklists for the instructor as well as the learners is key to ensuring a successful course.
Another point that I will keep in mind and am looking forward to learning more about is the different types of interactions and activities that can be used to keep students engaged and motivated in an online course. It is not easy to keep motivated in an online course as a learner so the instructor needs to find many different ways to keep learners interested and seeing the relevance a course has to their real lives. I think that making sure that interactions and activities are flexible is also a key thing to keep in mind.
How can this new learning be applied in your online course?
When I create my online course, I will spend a lot of time at the beginning in establishing guidelines and making sure that there is a solid framework for the course. This seemed like a small step to me but in fact, I think it is the biggest and most important step in the process. It will make the rest of the course creation process a lot smoother and there will be less backtracking and having to do things over.
The resources from this course were also really useful and I will keep them for future reference. I will also keep this in mind when I have to choose resources for my own course. The need to be useful, practical, and easily accessible. I ended up with the Kindle version of the text book as that is what I prefer. The one thing with that though, is there were no page numbers in the Kindle edition so I had to guess which parts to read for which sections. I also read that using Kindle “locations” is not that accurate as everyone will be reading on different devices. I think the best thing to do is to use page numbers as well as chapter or section names.
I will also incorporate training videos for the technological tools that I use to ensure that learners not get lost of overwhelmed by the technology.