As more learning becomes digital, the mysteries of instructional design unfold. Luckily, the secrets to developing a great online course follow a logical process. But before developing an online course, there are several wh-questions to ask. These questions determine who the course is for, why the course is needed, and so on. The answers to the wh-questions will differ for each developed course, but the steps for developing each e-course will follow the same basic pattern. Analyzing your online course objective(s) Once an online course objective has been decided, it must be analyzed. Breaking the course into manageable chunks will give the online course structure. One pitfall of chunking a concept is to make the pieces too large. Each chunk should be small enough for a learner to cover in one module. This may mean dividing chunks into smaller pieces. Revision may be necessary along the way. Assembling the online course development team Developing an online course requires a team of experts. These include subject matter experts, instructional designers, project managers, graphic [...]
Alt-text, or alternative text, is one of the critical components of good content design. For those newer to the topic, alt-text sometimes is referred to as alt-attributes, alt-descriptions, or alt-tags. Great instructional designers, course developers, and content writers keep the audience in mind as they develop content- and that includes associated images! Why is alt-text important? Screen Readers Individuals relying on screen readers will use alt-text so to interpret visual information as well as text. A lot of thought goes into the decision to use particular images. This effort should continue over onto the alt-text design to convey meaning effectively. Imagine reading a course question about a map showing a geographic location. Without a well-written alt-text description the user is left wondering and unable to access all of the course content. Unloaded Image Files If an image file cannot be loaded the user is also left to wonder what information and context might have been provided by the broken image link. Curious to learn more about how we can help you with an alt-text project? Download [...]
This guest post was written by Kristin Owens, Assistant Director of STEM area. Why is math class not the setting for most made-for-TV movies? Frankly, it is often lacking many of the elements we find most entertaining: suspense, drama, edge-of-your-seat action. TV audiences are not particularly engaged by lectures, note-taking, and example problems. And neither are students. An approach called productive struggle could change that! What is productive struggle? Imagine a group of students hunched around a worksheet containing a set of block figures. Each figure has the same shape, but the number of blocks in each increases consistently from the first figure to the last. The students must formulate an equation to calculate the number of blocks in each figure. And that is the extent of their instructions. While you may not be on the edge of your seat, the opening scene has set the stage for an exercise in productive struggle. Watch what happens next! The process of productive struggle Now that the teacher has assigned the worksheet, this is how the process of productive struggle [...]
Most colleges are creating online courses that serve the learners’ needs for flexibility and convenience. A positive partnership between an instructional designer, or ID, and a subject matter expert, or SME, can lead to a dynamic online course. It’s all about teamwork! Are you facing challenges, such as limited resources and time constraints to create an online course? What about faculty buy-in? Developing an online course involves more than moving textbook content to slides. It also involves understanding how to engage a learner online. Sometimes faculty don’t understand the role and contribution of an instructional designer. IDs work with SMEs to create engaging and interactive online courses. But, most importantly, it is the SMEs who have the expertise to bring meaning to it. Therefore, partnering a SME with an ID will result in an effective and engaging online course that serves the learner. Here are some best practices that will ensure a successful partnership: Create a good match Partnering a SME with an ID who has expertise in the same area will strengthen the partnership. They [...]
Online learning is not only popular for college courses, it's an equally important part of high school learning. A critical part of developing an engaging eLearning course is to understand what motivates the learner; in this case it is the high school student. We can describe a high school student's learning profile using these 6 characteristics. Critical thinker Goal setter Engages in self-reflection Prefers active over passive learning Highly curious thinker Seeks connections The first goal of the beginning of an eLearning course is to grab the learner's attention. If the learner is initially hooked, it’s easier to keep their attention. Here are 3 ways to trigger your high school student’s attention. Download the infographic, 8 Factors that Lead to an Engaging eLearning Course 1. Increase interactivity in eLearning To spark your student’s interest, incorporate interactive elements that will help them drive their learning. Instead of having a slide progress automatically, include a feature that will allow students to drag, drop, and hover. This will trigger your student to stay alert and involved in the [...]
Micro-credentials might be just the right approach for your district’s professional development program. Think smaller and a more focused format. That’s microcredentials in a nutshell. How does micro-credentialing work? Professionals complete a discrete, competency-based task. The organization offering micro-credentials can then issue badges, continuing education credits, or other verification of completion. Putting it in practice Let’s say a K12 school district typically offers face-to-face courses for teachers’ professional development. Teachers sign on and attend a number of hours of training and are then awarded continuing professional development, or CPD, credit for participating in those workshop trainings. Instead, how about changing the format to something like this. Redesign learning using the micro-credentials and change the components in the following manner. Plan shorter sessions Since educators already have a lot on their plate, why not shorten the units? It’s easier for busy educators to fit a 15- or 30-minute professional development session into their busy schedules. Use a skill-based program The second approach is to modify the learning to be skill-based and related to on-the-job tasks. [...]
June 23-26 Philadelphia, PA The ISTE Conference is the most influential edtech event in the world and the must-attend event for thousands of educators looking to harness the power of technology to advance learning and teaching. Immerse yourself in powerful ideas and inspirational speakers, while connecting with innovative educators who share your passion for transformative learning. #ISTE2019 If you plan on attending this event, please let us know. We’d love to catch up!
Writing good multiple choice assessment items might seem easy, but creating questions that truly get at “what students know” takes a good deal of practice.