A Quick Guide on How to Create Engaging Online Courses
A cornerstone to modern learning is the increasing use of online courses to help with learning. In our globalised world, even students who go to brick and mortar educational institutions often opt for online courses to supplement their in-person experiences. So how can educational institutions create engaging online courses?
Create interactive elements
One of the most obvious ways to create engaging online courses is to maintain student interest by including interactive elements that will encourage them to engage with learning. Making learning a two-way process – where students learn from the online course but also interact back with the online course – is useful in multiple ways. First, it obviously maintains the interest and attention of the student throughout the duration of the online course. Secondly, it is also a good way to gauge the understanding and interest of the student for the duration of the course. Finally, the use of interactive elements also helps with a recall of learning materials for the students.
Use dynamic content
The use of text-based learning materials is a long-standing tradition with most academic cases. But an effort to create engaging online courses is an opportunity for course creators to explore different types of learning materials that move beyond the traditional text. Using dynamic content helps students maintain an interest, recall course material better, and is found to be more engaging for modern students are more used to more audiovisual content over just text-based content. The different types of dynamic content that can be used in online courses include videos, images, gifs, flowcharts, sound clips like music or podcasts or interviews, etc. All these make learning more interesting during an online course.
Keep it accessible
When we create engaging online courses, it is important to not forget that they have to continue to remain easy to understand accessible for people across the board. At the very core, the goal of an online course is to teach – this means using simple and easily understood the language to share knowledge, instead of jargon that just obfuscates. Another factor to consider is that people with different abilities, who may not be able to participate in traditional classrooms, often choose online courses as an alternative to learning. To ensure that these online courses cater to them, they must be accessible – this means including image descriptions, simple language that is easy parse for a screen reader, uses text to speech options, is bite-sized for students who get easily fatigued and keeping in mind a variety of different needs and considerations.
Keep it exciting
Using active voice throughout course materials and using characters and stories during teaching is how educational institutions can create engaging online courses for their students. Keeping things exciting and engaging ensures that your online courses actually interest your students and keep their attention so they can learn. Online courses that are engaging help attract and retain students for the entire duration of the course. It also means they are likely to recall the content of the online courses after the course is over, resulting in better and more longer lasting learning. Keep online courses exciting to keep students excited about learning!
Include time for review
In traditional classrooms, teachers are able to gauge how well students are absorbing and understanding material thanks to non-verbal cues, the opportunity to quickly ask questions, and even in class teachable moments where the teaching becomes more responsive to immediate student needs. In an effort to create an engaging online course, one often loses out on this spontaneity. This is why it is important to include time to review what has been taught during the course in a quick fashion. These takeaways are a chance for students to understand a concept that is unfamiliar once more. Reviews have also shown to result in the better recall for students in the long term.
Have an open door policy While you try to create an engaging online course, allocate time and resources to address student queries and response! Building in this time and process ensures that students do not miss out the office hours experience they would have an opportunity to access in a traditional classroom at their educational institution. It also helps build an ongoing relationship with your online course’s students which means better classroom experiences and ultimately better learning experiences for all your students.