16 September 2013

What's This All About?

Purpose


This blog is meant to serve as a tool for both reflection and sharing of information that would be useful in the areas of instructional design, content development, and online delivery (facilitation) of courses.

We need all three!

Missing one of these components increases the instability and risk of having a less than successful course. Through the writings of this blog, I hope to impart some techniques, helpful hints, tips, and strategies in each of these areas in an effort to make your online course a success.

First off, let's talk about each 'D' a little.

Make sure that you are using the right tool for the job!

D3 Simplified


Design


The design aspect is like drafting up the blueprints for a new house. No one says to the carpenter - "Go and build me a house." - and expects to see a finished product in a few short months without some additional planning of what the finished house should look like.

Likewise, we would not want to say to teachers, professors, or facilitators - "Go and build an online course." - without some planning as to how that finished course should look. Just as a house to be custom built should address a great many needs for the residents, an online course should address the needs of the learners.

A needs analysis can go a long way in helping you to build a successful course. In addition to analyzing needs, we should look at the learners, learning environment, content, and time frames, just to name a few things.

What are the outcomes? What are the objectives? What things are acceptable as evidence of learning for you? What kinds of activities are most appropriate for leading the learner towards a point where they are capable of producing that evidence? Are we taking accessibility into account when thinking of all of these things?

Certainly there are many more areas we could list here but the point is that we need to think of these things.

Good design early on can reduce problems later

Develop


Someone has to build it! Is that you or someone else? What kinds of training do you need in order to develop the content on your own? What will be made - PowerPoints, videos, simulations, or SCORM objects? Are you developing with third party tools or completely within your content management system?

Have you considered the organization of the information? Formatting and navigation, while not related directly to your content, are very important elements of a positive experience on the part of the learners.

Your digital carpenter can take the designs and work wonders for you - just make sure that there is a design available. The developers have the training and expertise to do the building so that you can focus on being the content expert.

Don't let technology be a burden for you.
Let someone help you develop great content!

Deliver


Just like a joke - the delivery can make it or break it. Facilitating an online course is very different than facilitating a face-to-face one. It will be important for you to know some of the techniques and strategies for building relationships with your students. You will need to know how to manage your workload and use good time management while working in the online environment. Do you take time to give quality feedback? What would students say about your "presence" in the online classroom?

Teaching online can be a very rewarding experience - especially when everything is well planned and when the facilitator feels comfortable with how to manage everything.

All the best ingredients for the most awesome tasting sandwich in the world will get some pretty awful results if it is delivered to the customer like this...

Likewise, even a well planned and beautifully developed course can fall flat if it is not facilitated and managed well.

Spend time working on your presentation.
How you deliver the course will make a difference.


Suggestions?


As the blog gets going - I would love to have some ideas and questions from you. What are you interested in? Are there some areas where you are struggling? Please feel free to leave some comments or suggestions for future posts.

Have an awesome day!

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