5 Tips for Engaging Course Design

5 Tips for Engaging Course Design

It’s 2022 and digital learning is reaching new heights. In a post-pandemic education landscape, there is immense pressure on educators to create engaging and effective online course content. The ever-changing teaching environment strains educators, and for many, switching between online and in-person course delivery modes is unsustainable. Educators need the support of practical and efficient technology tools to assist with the design and delivery of course content.

Organizations should be asking, how can we efficiently support our educators with proper tools to create engaging online learning content? Keep reading as we share our industry expertise on five tips for online course design.

While reading our latest tips, have a think about these questions and how your learning experience can be enhanced to further engage your classroom:

  • Do your learning goals align with your learning outcomes?
  • How will you help your learners achieve these learning goals?
  • What materials and methods will be used to enhance the learning experience?
  • What tools and technology can best help you to help your learners?
  • How will you identify when these goals have been met?
Woman on laptop celebrating

Create your Course Goals and Objectives

As educators, you’re more than familiar with developing course goals and objectives for every syllabus created. Let’s go one step further and set goals for specific learning modules. Educating in a hybrid learning environment can lead to outdated and mismatched learning materials. Setting micro-goals for learning modules supports a streamlined review process with clear criteria.

Engage Learners with a range of Media Options

Learning Management Systems (LMS) have their course editing functionality. However, the resulting page design typically features a basic page layout with simple text and image elements. Often educators require HTML and CSS code skills to create responsive web-like course pages, particularly if they are looking to introduce rich interactive experiences for their learners.  

To overcome these challenges, teachers can leverage course design tools like Loree that plug into the LMS, giving you access to introduce pre-recorded videos, audio clips, graphics, and interactive (like image sliders, accordions, additional tabs, and more).

Prioritise the right Learning Tasks

“What will your students do during their online course?”


It’s always important to take yourself on the journey your learners will take. Several ways to enhance your instructional tasks in online courses, include:

  • Connecting: Activate your learners past knowledge and experiences of the content so they can build better connections to future course work.
  • Learn/Watch/Read: Update content to inspire your new learners.
  • Practice makes perfect: Reinforce learning abilities by implementing new activities
  • Share and Discuss: Empower learners to share personal experiences related to your content. Discussion threads and messaging tools within (or out) of your LMS are a great way to introduce social and peer-based learning to your course.
  • Assess: Learners can demonstrate their knowledge through a range of methods, including quizzes, tests, and assignments. Digital learning tools like Xen.Ed support multiple assessment options with the ability to track, monitor, and report learner results.
  • Reflect and Repeat: Test your learners on what they have learned by repeating and teaching the educator.
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Humanise the Technology You Use

Critical student feedback during the pandemic was that not all learning experiences were the same during COVID-19. The lack of teacher and peer engagement was a significant challenge for learners. Now that education is returning to face-to-face and blended models, humanizing the virtual learning experience is essential. Therefore, understanding how to introduce human elements is pivotal. Here are some ideas on how to humanize your courses:

    • Simplify your navigation and user journey: Most LMS’ are lack the ability to customize course navigation. When developing online course content, reflect on how your students navigate the face-to-face course experience and how it can be adapted for the online learning environment? It’s essential to view experiences from the lens of the learner and remove distractions or unnecessary material. These distractions can overwhelm learners and dilute core learning objectives.

    • Make the learning experience appealing: Interaction plays a pivotal role in the efficacy and effectiveness of digital learning. Learner-content interaction contributes predominately towards the successful realization of the expected learning outcomes.

      Course content design directly impacts learner engagement if it is text-heavy. Your learners are immersing themselves in an educational experience, adding imagery, short videos, pop quizzes, interactive elements, and engaging page design captures attention and elevates the course look & feel.

    • Accessibility is mandatory: The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) philosophy facilitates the idea of purposefully constructed learning experiences. These experiences need to be flexible and barrier-free. Consider using Interactives to showcase learning material in a variety of ways. Tools like Loree can create elements like image sliders, flip cards, accordions, and hotspots, all requiring zero code experience to design.

    Enhance the way you assess your learners

    Assessing online learners using a range of mediums is critical to identify whether they genuinely understand learning outcomes. Gone are the days of essay-only assessing, with educators using discussion posts, group work projects, quizzes, exams, verbal and audial assessments, and digital projects (among many others).

    Provide your learners with various options and formats to undertake their assessment. This provides an element of exploration and challenges learners to test their knowledge across multiple formats.

    Keep posted as we continue to discuss additional tips and tricks for engaging course design! Alternatively, if you would like to explore solutions to assist your institution in enhancing your learning experience, please book an EdTech exploration session with one of our education specialists.

    Crystal Delta and D2L Announce Partnership for Seamless Course Migrations to Brightspace LMS

    Crystal Delta and D2L Announce Partnership for Seamless Course Migrations to Brightspace LMS

    Crystal Delta, a global leader in education technology (EdTech), has recently announced its partnership with D2L (Brightspace LMS). The white-glove course migration solution (Crane) supports Education institutes to migrate courses at scale while improving the quality of course design.

     

    “We noticed our Education customers were struggling to migrate their courses within an effective delivery timeframe. These delays cost Educational Institutes significant amounts, but more importantly, it affects students and their access to education.” said David Mackenzie, Chief Technology Officer, Crystal Delta.

     

    Crane has seen significant results for Brightspace customers, with migrations of over 3000 courses taking only several months to complete. This process included end-to-end migrations between learning management systems and modernizing course content with present-day user experiences.

     

    “It is our mission to transform the way the world learns and we are proud to work with organizations like Crystal Delta who are helping to create high-quality, accessible learning experiences to reach as many learners as possible with D2L Brightspace learning innovation platform,” said Tom Donelly, Chief Corporate Development Officer of D2L.

     

    Crane is not slowing down, with its additional features in the self-service portal that provide Educators with enhanced tools for hybrid learners. “We work directly with educators to understand their needs. Our team is passionate about supporting the Education industry in everything we do, and we pride ourselves on engaging directly with those who need us most” mentioned Balaji Baradhazhvar, CEO, Crystal Delta.

     

    COMPANY PROFILES

    D2L
    D2L is transforming the way the world learns, helping learners of all ages achieve more than they dreamed possible. Working closely with clients all around the world, D2L is supporting millions of people learning online and in person. Our more than 950 global employees are dedicated to making the best learning products to leave the world better than where they found it. Learn more about D2L for K-12, higher education, and businesses www.D2L.com.

    Crystal Delta
    Our leadership team is dedicated to helping you navigate complex technology problems by delivering industry-leading products and solutions. Our pioneering adventurers formed Crystal Delta with a distinct vision, to be clearly different. Our global teams of over 100 tech ninjas strive for your digital summit with a heightened focus on quality and delivery with every project.

     

    Website: www.crystaldelta.com
    Contact information/comment:
    Trevor Morrison
    Marketing Manager
    Crystal Delta
    trevor@crystaldelta.com

    Crystal Delta Revolutionises Course Design and Online Learning Experiences in Blackboard

    Crystal Delta Revolutionises Course Design and Online Learning Experiences in Blackboard

    Crystal Delta has recently launched Loree for Blackboard to support educators in improving the learning experience through simplified course design and editing. Loree (the course design tool) is now available for integration with Blackboard. It is the only tool of its kind available for Blackboard learning management systems (LMS) and has been widely adopted by Canvas and Brightspace customers globally.

    Loree is designed to support K-12, Higher Education, Vocational Education, and Corporate Education sectors. “If you’re looking for a design solution that will grow with you over time, we highly recommend Loree.” mentioned Loree customer Gretta O. Rogne, Director of Digital Learning, New Caney ISD.

    Loree provides a range of features that simplify the course design and editing experience using Blackboard LMS, including:

    • Web-like Experiences: engaging and responsive course page creation with text, imagery, videos, and interactives (image sliders, flip cards, accordions, tabs, and more) within Blackboard
    • Accessibility Checker: Ensure your courses meet the unique needs of your learners within Blackboard
    • Design and Share: Design, build, save, and share your templates across your organisation
    • Integrations: Use Loree’s own seamless integration of H5P to easily embed interactive content within your courses in Blackboard

    Loree course editing tool within the Blackboard interface

    “A learner’s success and satisfaction are directly dependant on their engagement with course materials. Taking that thinking into account, I aim to empower educators, learning designers and all those who seek to deliver engaging, interactive and transformative learning experiences with the tool to do so.” Edina Cejvan, Product Owner, Loree

    Loree is available now for Blackboard Learn and is coming soon to Blackboard Ultra. Blackboard users can also look forward to a growing set of interactive modules, out-of-the-box templates based on learning best practices, analytics, and much more.

     

    Loree course editing tool within the Blackboard interface

    “At Crystal Delta, our mission is to improve learning. Now with the release of Loree for Blackboard, the learners’ experience is improved through enabling educators to create engaging content. We look forward to supporting Blackboard’s customers and learners.”  Balaji Baradhazhvar, CEO, Crystal Delta

    Click here to learn more about Loree.

     

     

    Contact information
    Trevor Morrison
    Marketing Manager
    Crystal Delta – www.crystaldelta.com
    trevor@crystaldelta.com

    Ready-to-Learn Automated Course Migration and Transformation using Crane

    Ready-to-Learn Automated Course Migration and Transformation using Crane

    Crystal Delta, a global leader in education technology (EdTech), has recently announced ground-breaking advancements to its industry-leading course migration product to support educational institutes. Crane (course migration application) transforms and migrates courses in mere days, compared to current market technology that can take weeks and months.

    Education providers moving to a new LMS have always had two tasks to contend with:
    1) Migrate courses, and;
    2) Uplift (transform) courses.

    The first step has multiple solutions in the market, including Crane, but the second step can often take many months and hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete.

    The latest release of Crane includes industry-first innovations in intelligent automation, which can now Uplift courses during or after an automated migration. By allowing users to specify a target template, Crane can transform the content to suit the desired layout and structure. Cutting course uplift down to days and still within the industry’s most competitive price.

    “We noticed our education customers were struggling to migrate and then uplift their courses within an effective delivery timeframe. These delays cost Educational Institutes significant amounts, but more importantly, it affects students and their access to education.” said David MackenzieCrane Product Owner and Crystal Delta CTO. 

    Crane’s course migration capabilities remain unmatched in the marketplace, with its ability to migrate courses from and to a range of Learning Management Systems (LMS). Educational institutes utilizing popular platforms such as Blackboard, Instructure, and D2L (among others), can now migrate and uplift courses to new learning standards in record time and the most competitive cost in the market. With the latest additions, including a self-service portal, we’ve proven bulk migrations with uplift, from Blackboard Learn to Blackboard Ultra at 2,500 courses per day.

    RMIT University leveraged the solution to accelerate their course migration, delivering hundreds of courses within days. “Our manual course migration project was running behind schedule, and we decided to approach the Crystal Delta team to assist. Crystal Delta’s automation delivered migrated courses with consistent quality at high speed, and they completed the migration of courses ahead of the project deadline.” stated Tass KatsoulidisDirector of Learning & Teaching Solutions, RMIT University. 

    The Crane course migration application has migrated thousands of courses for small and large education institutions in Australia, Asia, and the United States.   

    “We aim to make complex things simple. Education institutes and students of today deserve the right to advanced technology to accelerate the learning experience.” mentioned Balaji Baradhazhvar, CEO at Crystal Delta. 

    Click here to learn more about Crane’s intelligent course migration.

    Website: www.crystaldelta.com 
    Contact information/comment: 
    Trevor Morrison
    Marketing Manager
    Crystal Delta
    trevor@crystaldelta.com

    What Reading Fiction Can Teach Grad Students about Emotional Intelligence

    What Reading Fiction Can Teach Grad Students about Emotional Intelligence

    In late 2020, the World Economic Forum released its list of the top 10 job skills that will be in demand by 2025. These skills included social influence, resilience, creativity, flexibility, and ideation.

    Harvard Business School set out to answer the question; “How do you teach students how to be more empathetic, better able to interpret and express emotions, or more willing to sit with ambiguity?”. A clear identifier was reading fiction, posing a strong correlation between higher levels of emotional intelligence.

    The study began by creating reading assignments to their students to practice deep thinking by engaging with fictional texts. Students were surprised to be receiving the assignment, as most had not been asked to read fiction in their classes beyond undergraduate literature courses. Over the research period, students were assigned both reading and writing assignments with interesting results.

    The results
    Harvard Business School identified three themes that dominated the conversations: empathy, individual and social responsibility, and leadership.

    Readings included, “The Man in the Well” by Ira Sher, “As the North Wind Howled” by Yu Hua, and “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” by Herman Melville

    Read the full results here

    It’s difficult accurately defining how reading fiction directly impacts students’ emotional intelligence or other cognitive skills, assigning fiction for discussion in a profession graduate school class opened the doors to conversations that differ from the standard rubric.

    One student wrote, “I was pleasantly surprised that we had to read fiction for this class. I really liked the discussion we had in class about this reading and how we were able to connect these fictitious characters and scenarios to real-life workplace situations.”

    “Reading and discussing fiction is part of our training as creative, flexible, and critical thinkers.”

    Read the complete article here: https://hbsp.harvard.edu/inspiring-minds/what-reading-fiction-can-teach-graduate-students-about-empathy-and-emotion