Re-thinking your e-learning content

Before madly rushing in and putting your reading notes and class activities online you should first consider the delivery environment. Making content available in the same format as you would in a classroom does not equate to good e-learning.

The developer of e-learning content considers the subject matter and determines which content is appropriate for e-learning and which content is not. So many teachers new to e-learning (and don’t worry if you are one – you are not alone) think that all they need to do is make the content available over the internet and the learner will be satisfied. When you plan your face to face classes you consider pedagogical approaches – this should be no different when you provide resources to your learners electronically.

Start by considering the nature of the content. In my classroom normally I would consider splitting the content up into chunks of learning that takes the learner from the known to the unknown.

When I am putting a unit of competence online I consider whether the unit will be offered completely online or if my learners will need to undertake some face to face study. I am sure you will agree that there are times when a learner will benefit from being in a classroom with immediate feedback from a subject matter expert.

For example, if I was learning to build a luxury yacht it would make sense to have an expert examine my work and give me some hints and tips on how I can achieve the required standard.

There are also activities that need to be viewed and practiced many times to assist the learner to obtain a skill. Repetitive tasks can be repeated over and over again using videos and online interactive activities. This assists the learner to master skill and reinforces learning.

Content that is static (such as grammatical rules) can easily be provided online whereas content that is dynamic and needs to be updated regularly should be carefully considered. Unless you have a maintenance plan this content may need to handled in a blended environment.

If the unit requires some form of data collection – such as surveys, completion of quizzes, Q&A type activities e-learning can provide you with a handy solution. Your learners can also complete these activities at a time to suit their work/life commitments rather than having to complete them in the classroom.

Good e-learning design includes a planned approach. Make sure you consider your target audience and their needs, the skills of your e-learning facilitators, the nature of the content and the activities required to consolidate learning. If you would like some assistance please feel free to explore http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/nsw

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