Features of a good online course

Guest Author: Aleksandra 


In this article, I will write about 
the basic conditions that every online course should meet. 

Although there are various forms of knowledge transfer via the Internet, online courses are only one type of online learning. 

When creating them, every instructional designer should keep in mind the following items, which will be described below. Of course, these are just the key points. Perhaps with the development of technology and new learning theories, these key points will go down in history or will be contextually expanded. 

 
 

1. Simple work environment

For a participant to feel safe in a work environment on the Internet, that work environment must have a good user interface. What does it mean? In short, you need to make sure that the participant learns what is intended, without having to study the platform on which he is learning for too long. If the participant first has to master the platform on which he is learning, and only then move on to specific content, his motivation to learn will greatly decrease. The worst scenario is that the participant spends more time navigating the platform than on the content of the course itself. 

Most educators first need to decide which learning platform to use. The technical solution means the choice of the platform, ie LMS (Learning Management System) software that will be used for the distribution of courses. There are many of them on the market, and before you make a decision on which one to use, you must research them well, that is, test the trial versions. 

The most important thing for the participant is that the work environment is not too complicated. This means: 

* Easy registration for the participant, 

* There should be simple instruction for participants on how the platform works. 

 
 

2. Quality and clear course content

We can say that a course has excellent quality if the content of the course can improve and expand knowledge, and then apply it in practice. A good online course always offers specific knowledge that you can use in daily life. 

 

For a course to be considered quality, it must meet the following conditions: 

* It should be written in clear language; 

* It is well structured didactically; 

* Has elements of narration (or “tells a story”); 

* Content goes from easy to hard; 

* Is written in an easy-to-understand way, but it also has an expert review of the content. 

For the content to be well created, it is a prerequisite that the goals and outcomes of the online course are well defined in advance. 

The length of the content must be in line with the topic covered in the online course. It should not be too short and superficially processed, because in that case, the participants will not have the acquired knowledge after completing the course. Also, one should not exaggerate and be too extensive. 🙂  

Goals and outcomes 

Watch a short video below about creating goals and outcomes for an online course. 

 

 

3. Interactive content

The content of the course must not be boring for the participants. 

If you only see lines and lines of text in the course, without any multimedia content to enrich it, you are actually reading a PDF document. For some content not to be boring for the participants, it is better to enrich it with exercises, examples, scenarios, tests, tasks, simulations, dialogues, case studies, links, manuals, presentations and more. 

The quality of the online course will increase significantly if you make it interactive and allow participants to be active in the learning process. 

Depending on what you want to achieve, you will use a program or web tool to create exercises for participants. 

 

Check out the tools I recommend and use below.  

  1. H5P
  2. Genialy  
  3. LearningApps  
  4. ThingLink  
  5. Bubbl  
  6. Play Posit 

The list of programs and web tools used by the experts are numerous, and I will deal with this topic in more detail in one of the following articles. These are just some of the most popular ones at the moment. 

 

Pay attention! 

When using interactivity in an online course, be careful that the interactivity elements are justifiably embedded in the content. 

The following should be taken into account: 

* Not to add animations, sound, or colorfulness if it is not necessary, i.e., didactically justified; 

* Not to overdo the number of interactive exercises. 

Interactive content does not serve to visually enhance the course, but to encourage participants to take action. 

 

 

4. Communication on the online course

Many creators of online courses neglect this important segment, and many of them consider it completely unnecessary. 

However, when a participant learns something, he should get some feedback about his work and progress, but also needs someone he can ask for an opinion or suggestion if there are any misunderstanding. Exchanging opinions and ideas with other learners and working as a group also encourage the provision of knowledge to the participants. 

A characteristic of online courses is the lack of personal contact between the lecturer and the participant. However, this challenge can be overcome in two ways: 

  1. Forums for discussion within the learning platform;
  2. Direct communication with the author/lecturer of the course.

As in live communication, similar rules apply to online communication. If you are a course instructor/moderator, try to: 

* Respond regularly to incoming messages from participants; 

Admit if you overlooked or made a mistake; 

* Be kind and friendly when replying to messages; 

Use your knowledge to help participants master the content of the course. 

In this way, you will provide your students with good and quality feedback and you will be able to overcome the lack of personal contact. 

 

 

5. And what happens after the course?

Many courses do not have a clear outcome for participants after completing the course. Therefore, from the beginning, it is very important to define the goals and outcomes of the course, as well as the competencies that the participant will acquire at the end of the course. To be able to say that an online course has good quality, it must ultimately have a final product. The final product is what the participant created independently, but with the help of the knowledge acquired in his course. 

You wouldn’t want to go back to the course after which you have the feeling that you have learned something new, but you might have no idea how to implement it in practice. This brings us back to the story of well-edited content, which is important to enrich with real-life or business examples. 

Suggestions for ensuring the knowledge of participants after the course are: 

Post-course activities – make sure your participants try out the knowledge they have acquired in the course in real life. Give them real-life opportunities and advise them on how they can use their knowledge. 

Social networking – allow participants to connect with each other. Refer them to groups, forums, a community where they can find similar people with whom they will be able to share knowledge and experience and thus expand existing knowledge. 

These are just some of the elements that are important for the development and creation of online courses but by no means the only ones. Anyone who embarks on the adventure of creating and distributing online courses should keep in mind that this area is very wide and that it is impossible to learn it from just one blog post. 

 

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Welcome to the future of insurance, as seen through the eyes of Scott, a customer in the year 2030. His digital personal assistant orders him an autonomous vehicle for a meeting across town. Upon hopping into the arriving car, Scott decides he wants to drive today and moves the car into “active” mode. Scott’s personal assistant maps out a potential route and shares it with his mobility insurer, which immediately responds with an alternate route that has a much lower likelihood of accidents and auto damage as well as the calculated adjustment to his monthly premium. Scott’s assistant notifies him that his mobility insurance premium will increase by 4 to 8 percent based on the route he selects and the volume and distribution of other cars on the road. It also alerts him that his life insurance policy, which is now priced on a “pay-as-you-live” basis, will increase by 2 percent for this quarter. The additional amounts are automatically debited from his bank account.

When Scott pulls into his destination’s parking lot, his car bumps into one of several parking signs. As soon as the car stops moving, its internal diagnostics determine the extent of the damage. His personal assistant instructs him to take three pictures of the front right bumper area and two of the surroundings. By the time Scott gets back to the driver’s seat, the screen on the dash informs him of the damage, confirms the claim has been approved, and that a mobile response drone has been dispatched to the lot for inspection. If the vehicle is drivable, it may be directed to the nearest in-network garage for repair after a replacement vehicle arrives.

While this scenario may seem beyond the horizon, such integrated user stories will emerge across all lines of insurance with increasing frequency over the next decade. In fact, all the technologies required above already exist, and many are available to consumers. With the new wave of deep learning techniques, such as convolutional neural networks,1 artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to live up to its promise of mimicking the perception, reasoning, learning, and problem solving of the human mind (Exhibit 1). In this evolution, insurance will shift from its current state of “detect and repair” to “predict and prevent,” transforming every aspect of the industry in the process. The pace of change will also accelerate as brokers, consumers, financial intermediaries, insurers, and suppliers become more adept at using advanced technologies to enhance decision making and productivity, lower costs, and optimize the customer experience.

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Should the learner fail to install the right detectors, the whole lab might explode!

 

 

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