Computer facilitated distance learning is rapidly becoming the most preferred mode of training across the world. The internet is a captivating and resourceful multimedia platform with the significant potential to reach a multitude of widely dispersed learners at fairly low cost. Nevertheless, it can be expensive and time-consuming to develop an effective online course. In developing an online course, it is important to make sure that the final product will help the learners reap the maximum benefits of online learning. Today, we will go over some course development tips that will help bring out the best of an online learning course.
1) Understand Your Audience
To develop an effective online course, you need to know your audience in terms of their knowledge, skills, as well as expertise levels. Without that, it will be difficult to establish what your audience already knows and what they need to learn. Hence, it will be difficult to develop a course that will offer them tangible value.
To avoid wasting resources by developing an online course based on assumptions about your target audience, you need to properly assess your audience. Evaluating a group of employees, for their skills and expertise is a vital step towards developing an effective and engaging course that will help your audience reap the various benefits of online learning, such as expanding their knowledge base about a subject.
2) Online Course Should Facilitate Offline Learning
You should not confine all learning to theory, videos and questions. Think of the online environment as a pedestal for offline work. For example, you can ask your audience to go out and interview customers, build a prototype, or hold discussion groups and then share the lessons learned from the offline activities, on the online platform.
3) Avoid Location or Culture-Specific Content
Ideally, you need to steer clear of references that may only be associated with a particular culture. If you include various terminologies that may be unpopular in several regions across the globe, then your international audience will be deprived of the full benefits of online learning experience. It will be of great benefit if you avoid pop culture allusions as they are not shared worldwide. You also need to be aware of what might be offensive in various cultures, more so if you are targeting an international audience. For example, one gesture may be acceptable in one region, but completely impolite and offensive in another.
4) Make it Personal
Your online course should be all about connecting with your audience. Thus, you should avoid the excessive use of jargon and impersonal language lest you completely lose the connection between you and the audience. Talk to your audience and connect with them.
The online course should sound like a conversation between real people; not robots. You should speak directly to the audience by applying the personalization principle which uses first and second person language allowing your learners get full benefits of online learning.
5) Incorporate Assessments and Multimedia Features Applicable to All Learning Needs
Essentially, people have varied learning capabilities. While one learner may gain much from audio presentations, another might have a better learning experience with interactive games and scenarios. Therefore, it is imperative that you include multimedia and assessments that cover a vast range of learning needs.
For instance, when you are targeting a wider online learning audience, you should avoid creating an online course that only someone with advanced knowledge can comprehend. If you intend to develop a course specifically targeting those with prior knowledge of a subject, then you should let it be known, so that other learners are not caught unawares when they participate.
6) Show Your Audience the Real World Benefits of the Online Course
To create a lasting online learning experience, your audience needs to know the relevance of the information in real world applications. The only way information can become embedded in our long-term memories is when we are provided with the chance to reflect on it. Give your audience the opportunity to see themselves in situations that provide real world benefits and offer them the chance to not only take action but also make choices.
By encouraging your audience to apply what they learn online, to solve real world problems, it will be very hard to forget all they have learned. Furthermore, you can incorporate social learning methods into your online course and encourage learners’ participation in online discussions. This will help them delve deeper into the main concepts of a subject matter, and also help you evaluate the effectiveness of your online course deliverables.
To get the maximum benefits of online learning, it is essential to apply the best practices in developing an online course. Fortunately, the technological advancements make it easy to develop more exciting and engaging online courses that make online learning more effective.