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Online Learning – Design Tips For Beginners

Posted on the 10 February 2012 by Combi31 @combi31

This short article will provide some practical suggestions for converting existing materials into online learning content and for developing new content.1. IntroductionThe best place to begin with online learning, if you are new to it, is to present course documentation online as a way to support the face-to-face teaching rather than replace it. These resources can be easy to develop and upload to the learning platforms such as Moodle, Blackboard or WebCT. This kind of simple informational content takes very little time and effort to produce.2. Tips for Designing Online Learning Materials & Coursesi) Consider your learning objectives and outcomes. Breakdown the objectives into a series of learning goals. Break down the learning goals into small steps and tasks. For interactive learning, think of activities that will get the learners doing the tasks. Focus on what will the learners actually being doing.ii) Identify who the learners are and their main characteristics. (It is worthwhile keeping in mind that for some people online learning may be out of necessity rather than preference.)iii) Make an outline and build a course framework.

  • Divide into week-by-week topics
  • List teaching points under each topic and sub-topic
  • Structure each topic to answer one question or problem
  • Present in a logical order

iv) Gather existing materials together. Decide which materials must be delivered face-to-face and which can then be placed online.v) Chunk the information into small (3 to 5) stand-alone pieces that can be used as building blocks. Keep topics small. Put the topic building blocks in order. (See the site HubPages for tips on how to chunk information and media together.)vi) Provide a series of flexible materials which support both those learners who like structure and those eclectic learners who just want to explore.3. Creating Online Documents & Presentations for Online ViewingResearch shows that people scan web pages rather than reading them word- by-word. It is a good idea therefore to prepare simple, informational pages that are very clear and effective. Use a narrow column so that the words are easily scanned.Here are some tips to create easy-to-read informational materials:

  • Use bullet lists
  • Turn prose into tables
  • Use consistent headings and sub-headings
  • Highlight key words
  • One idea per paragraph
  • Use 40-50% white space
  • Use light background with dark text
  • Use a non-serif font (e.g. Arial) with standard font size (10 point)
  • Keep pages short
  • Have both the unit title and topic title at the top center of every page
  • Include page numbers at bottom of page (e.g. page 1 of 7)

4. FinallyThere is a lot to learn when designing for online learning; it is different from designing for face-to-face learning. But the above tips should be enough for you to get started in creating good content for online learning.Author: Stephen AddisonArticle Source: EzineArticles.comProvided by: WordPress plugin Guest Blogger

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