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?
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 Educating in a hybrid learning environment can lead to outdated and mismatched learning materials.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.
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.