Developing online curriculum can be both exciting and overwhelming for many businesses. Online learning is attractive for employers because it is straightforward to deliver, and can be scaled more easily, compared to traditional classroom-based instruction.
However, there are some pitfalls when designing online course content. Here are five tips to consider.
Tip 1: Curriculum Should Solve Real-World Challenges
Online training scenarios are only truly effective and powerful if they deal with real world challenges or situations that learners will actually encounter outside of the virtual classroom. For a companies designing curriculum to train employees, this means course content should be immediately connected to performing their jobs successfully.
Adult learners are typically most engaged by content that meets a need or helps them achieve a goal. If your curriculum does not answer the question “What’s in it for me?”, then learners will likely lose interest before completing the learning objectives.
Making curriculum relevant can be accomplished through realistic questions, scenario-based learning, and interactive exercises that tie back to what they have to do on the job.
Ultimately, you should be presenting course content your learners can then apply in real life.
Tip 2: Course Design Should Help Learners Succeed
Engaging your employees will improve your learning outcomes. The actual design of your course content is a large part of engagement. For example, course content should be presented logically, and should be easy to read and consume.
Listed below are some ways you can design your curriculum to help the help the learner retain information and use what they have learned:
- Using clear and impactful headings
- Using bulleted lists to make content scannable and keep text to a minimum
- Highlight and identify the key learning objectives
- Use images where you can instead of text
- Using readable fonts (there is a whole field of study related to fonts)
Tip 3: Help Learners Interact and Collaborate Online
Research shows that when students have the opportunity to collaborate, they perform better in the classroom and achieve learning outcomes. This is important for businesses investing the valuable time and budget into developing and delivering training for employees.
Encouraging students to reach out to each other to solve problems and share knowledge not only builds collaboration skills, it leads to deeper learning and understanding–the more students collaborate with each other, the better they learn.
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Even if your online learners are located in different geographic locations, such as different company branch offices, you can still help them interact and collaborate with each other, with the help of online forums, chats, and video conferencing.
- Introduce and encourage the use of online discussion spaces where students gather to discuss and collaborate on material during the course; make use of contemporary tools such as video chat and online collaborative workspaces (e.g., Google Docs) where students in any location can work together.
- Design a group assignment that that encourage students to work together to apply and discuss course content using multiple perspectives to create solutions to problems.
- Get involved in group activities as an instructor, such as monitoring and participating in online group discussion boards, and contact students not participating early in the group process.
Tip 4: Keep It Simple
When designing the look and feel of your curriculum, it can be wise to observe the maxim “less is more.” Instead of spending time creating animations, interactions, assignments that may only confuse learners, it makes sense to keep things simple.
Instead, use more sophisticated techniques in smaller doses in order to strategically enhance the learner experience. By keeping things simple, you’re helping ensure learners are not overloaded with less-relevant information, and also do not have to encounter or negotiate any cognitive jumps that may put a stop to learning taking place.
Online learning and training needs to be designed keeping the weakest link in mind.
Tip 5: Don’t Over-Complicate Scenarios
It can be tempting for instructors to create scenario-based online training content that is detailed and complicated, in order to create a richer, immersive and engaging learning experience.
However, if you want to keep your employees focused and excited about the scenario-based online training experience, try to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible. The best scenarios are based on real-life situations that your learners may encounter.
Get Help With Developing Powerful, Scalable Content
Developing online curriculum is a powerful, scalable strategy for businesses to help improve the productivity and retention of employees. However, when designing content it’s important to keep learner motives in mind, as well as the experience of online learning itself.
Here at Udutu, we take great pride in helping educators , trainers and corporations understand different learner types and implement cost effective, undisruptive and engagement based learning solutions that actually make a difference. Contact us to help us help you make this transition.