We binge TV series, get food delivered, and book appointments directly from our phones, iPads or laptops; we connect with friends and family through social media; and we access new information constantly from a multitude of online sources.
And education is moving with it.
Learning online instead of through traditional face-to-face campuses is a growing trend globally. Learners want to learn new skills in a way that’s both flexible and convenient, and which matches their existing online experience.
While this gives course providers an incredible opportunity to reach new markets, transitioning to the online course space can feel daunting.
Where do you start? How do you design for online delivery? How can you make your course appealing to students?
The great news is, you’ve already got tried-and-tested content from your existing face-to-face program to funnel into your online course. You just need to tailor it for an online experience, using these 5 tips to help you along the way.
1. Keep your course short
Short online courses mean learners complete them faster.
While this is stating the obvious, what a short course does is two-fold: learners feel a greater sense of achievement and motivation by completing a short course faster (and are more excited to do further courses); and you can divide one long face-to-face course into multiple short courses on more discrete topics.
2. Follow a similar structure to your existing course
While teaching online is a different medium with different tools to face-to-face, it requires a similar overarching approach to learning design. And since you’ve already designed up your course for face-to-face with a set structure of modules and topics, you can use this similar structure for your online version.
You can tweak this to your liking – which is also important if you’re shortening the course – but if you’re strapped for time, you can use the same structure as your face-to-face course.
3. Curate external materials and resources
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are loads of fantastic resources already available online that you can embed or link to in your course to supplement your own information.
What’s key is your subject matter expertise: your curation is highly valuable for learners who may not be able to accurately judge the validity of online information.
4. Create meaningful, real-world activities
While consuming content and resources are important for learners to better understand your subject, the real, juicy learning happens when learners get to apply what they’re learning to the real world.
Take a look at your existing content: how can learners apply these ideas in ways that matter to them?
If your course is on improving writing skills, can you get your learners to start writing a blog on a subject they care about? If your course is on logo design basics, can learners work on their own logo design throughout the course?
The more opportunities you give learners to apply and reflect on their learning, the deeper their learning experience will be, and the more likely they’ll be to take more of your courses.
5. Make it about sharing learning artefacts
Now that you’re getting learners to apply concepts to the real world, the next step is getting them to share them in the course with their classmates.
On the OpenLearning platform, our share and gallery widgets enable learners to share their work for other learners to view, like and comment on; meaning learners can learn from each other’s work as well as get feedback within an engaged community of practice.
💡Did you know? You can use page templates to save time when creating learning activities on the OpenLearning platform. Read more about page templates on the OpenLearning Blog.
Not only can social learning enable a more engaging experience for your learners, but it supports them to learn from a range of experiences and understandings of the topic.
Implementing these 5 tips can make your transition from face-to-face to online courses a smooth and enjoyable one. What’s more, the more engaging the learning experiences you create for students are, the more eager they will be to take your future online course offerings.