Optimizing the Learners’ LMS eLearning Experience

The first eLearning course I enrolled in in the year 2000 was a nightmare because I couldn’t find all the required pieces of the course on the website. Granted, LMS (learning management systems) were in their infancy at that point, and I honestly don’t recall which, if any, LMS was use. Nonetheless, the course left such a horrible impression on me that it took many years before I attempted another online course.

I always remember that experience when I design my courses. I’ve worked primarily in Moodle and Blackboard, and each have their pros and cons, but no matter which LMS is used, making the course as learner friendly as possible is always at the forefront of my layout.

In the Blackboard example used here, the site is laid out by module. The Course Documents page contains all documents the learners will use, including the course syllabus and assignments, in addition to links to useful sites. These documents are added to the modules in which the topics are addressed and assignments “handed out.” The multiple postings allow learners to quickly find what they are looking for.

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Course Re-design Project

A few months ago I came to the conclusion it was time re-design an online course I teach. Over the past decade I have created and re-designed a number of courses that were delivered both in the classroom and as eLearning courses. In addition, I have experience as an instructional designer. How I go about re-designing courses has not been at the forefront of my mind in years. I just do it. It’s time to document the journey.

Interestingly, I’m also in the midst of searching for research articles about how professors go about creating and re-designing courses. Some of these articles may find their way in to the forthcoming blog posts, but only if they are open access articles.
About the course

The course I’m re-designing is workplace learning (WPL). The course is part of an undergraduate degree program in education. The age range of the students is 20 to 60 years old. The vast majority have worked, and many of them work full-time. Some students have English as a second language, but of the 60 or so students I taught the course to, only two students had serious writing challenges.

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How to Search for Creative Commons Material

Do you know how to find graphics or sound for your eLearning modules, website, or blog? This short video will introduce you to the importance of knowing copyright laws and how to use the Creative Commons search function to find just what you need to make your eLearning modules come to life … without infringing on copyright.

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Instructional Design Tip: Backward Design

I’ve taken several motorcycle courses over the years, and the one mantra that all instructors say is, “Look where you want to go.” This is repeated over and over again, yet years later, I occasionally find myself looking at the beautiful vistas as I ride. This is a rather dangerous habit, as people tend to steer in the direction they are looking at. That can kill you.

Source: Motorcyclenews.com

Looking where you want to go applies to car drivers as well as motorcycle riders. It also applies to goals and to education, particularly teachers, professors, and instructional designers, who must always have the end goal in mind and stay on course.

For instructional designer the term “backward design” means keeping the end in mind and working backward from the goal. I believe that many in education use backward design but just aren’t aware of it.

Backward design has three stages. The first is identifying the desire results. The purpose is to determine what the learner is expected to know, or be able to accomplish, at the end of course or lesson.

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