Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tips for Designing an Effective Online Course

Tips for designing an effective online course

  1. Always include a navigation block at the start, even if you think the learners have done eLearning before. The navigation block should have clear and simple instructions so any learner can easily progress through the course. By making navigation easy, learners can focus on the course content.
  1. Provide clear contact information for the instructor. If the learners do have questions, how do they contact you and what is your response time?
  1. Pay attention to the layout of each and every section. Avoid cluttering sections with too much information. The course should be pleasing to the eye and designed to draw the learner’s eye to the most important information.
  1. Include a glossary. Never assume that the learners will understand jargon, technical terms or acronyms. The glossary should be comprehensive and explain key terms in plain English.
  1. Include regular quizzes or case studies to check the learners’ understanding of the content. Instead of having one huge test at the end of a course, it is better to have shorter tests at regular intervals throughout the course. Regular tests and quizzes are a good way for learners to measure their own understanding and build their confidence.
  1. Give learners the option of finding out more information if they need to. You could include a box on some blocks saying “Want to know more? Click on this link to learn more about …..”
  1. Ask another person to check the course to see if it makes sense and to look for any content that is unclear.
  1. Engage in continuous improvement. Even when you have published and released your course to learners, there is still the opportunity to gather feedback and make improvements to the course. You could include a survey asking learners if there was anything they found unclear. This is a great way for you to keep learning about the learners’ perspective and to remind yourself that you are designing courses for real people.