Developing and Delivering a Great Online Course – The Delivery System

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The recipe for developing and delivering a great online course involves a number of important ingredients, not just great content. So, what are these ingredients? The online course delivery system, preparing the learning materials, instructional support and continuous improvement. In the next 4 posts I will highlight the importance of each of these ingredients and how are they blended together, starting off with the role of technology. Course Recipe

The online course delivery system.

The technology for delivering an online course is critical for success. If I had to pick one design feature that will increasingly enable instructors to improve their learning outcomes it would be “data centric”. A data centric system is more likely to be able to capture detailed learning data during all online activities. The more learning data that is available for review and analysis, the more an instructor is able to accurately monitor and measure student progress, student performance, content effectiveness, etc. So, with the above in mind, the best possible online course delivery system:
  • Has all the features required to run an online course – typically this would be categorized as a Learning Management System (LMS). The more a student is able to conduct their studying within the system’s online environment the better. Ideally, the online system should have all communication modes (including chat, mail, forums, audio/video conferencing) seamlessly integrated.
  • Captures as much detailed learning data as is possible including communications.
  • Automatically analyzes as much of the data as possible and provides useful, continuous, near real-time feedback to the students and instructor e.g. current progress and performance.
Course Delivery System - Diagram
  • Makes all the captured data available to the instructor to enable further analysis if desired.
Capturing More Data - Cartoon
  • A great user interface that truly engages students such that they enjoy working in the environment and look forward to returning to it. This one ‘feature’ is generally considered to contribute to the success of an online course as much as, if not more than, any other feature.
Dilbert - Interface Design   To summarize, the course delivery system should have all the features of a standard LMS, capture as much detailed data during the learning process as is possible, analyze the data and provide useful feedback, make all the data available for optional organizational analysis, and present all of this via an excellent user interface. Learning Management System vendors claim to have all the above features to some degree but, in my opinion, most currently fall short in terms of detailed data capture, analysis and feedback. The next step is to prepare your learning materials to maximize the quantity and quality of the data captured by the delivery system.

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This post was written by ihart

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