Using a Structured Learning Environment (LMS)
In order to deliver a successful online course, the whole delivery has to be very well structured and visible. That is how students know what they need to do next. Without a visible structure, students will get lost very quickly and disengage blaming the mode of delivery. Below we learn about how we can use a Learning Management System to structure all the crucial information in a very intuitive and visible way. This ensures that students focus on the learning material and process as opposed to dealing with technical challenges.
Use the following checklist while putting together the online course:
1. Course outline - A course outline is a document consisting of detailed description of the course with its learning objectives. It mentions the whole structure of the course by listing down all the topics to be covered with their subtopics alongside the learning outcomes to be achieved after each course . A course outline should consist of the following
Objectives of the course
Topics to be covered in the course and which weeks it will be covered
Pedagogical approach - For example, if students need to watch videos or read through material before coming to the live class. Or if it is the other way around depending on your style and course requirements.
A grade policy / Passing criteria - How are assessments done and what qualifies for the student to pass.
2. Technological Requirement - It's essential in an online program to talk about any specific technology requirements for the course which a learner should be ready before the start. For eg, if any tool like excel, R , python to be downloaded/ configurations requirement if any/ platform to be used for live classes
3. Faculty Information - Use faculty profiles to enable students to visualize who will be teaching them. If the faculty can create a video introducing themselves and the course, that will go a long way in building a connection with the students.
4. Organize Course into Modules
Modules give structure to the course. It can be organized as weeks or months for the program and all the material that needs to be covered can be grouped together. There are other ways of organizing (for example by topic), but we have found that chronological is what gives students the most clarity as to the course progress and where they are.
Learning material for each of the modules can then be inserted into the appropriate place and with the right sequence.
Planning Assessments - How can we ensure learners will meet the learning outcomes? Assessments can also be added to the modules so that students do not miss completing them
Faculty can add further constraints for compliance - for example students can progress to the next module only after completing all items of the module in a certain order.
In summary, using an LMS to structure your course and make it visible for learners. It gives faculty and students control and a sense of accomplishment as the progress along the course. Organising all the learning material at one location also makes it easy for the learners to be engaged with the faculty and course. Here are few benefits of using a LMS
Organises content at one place which keeps learners engaged in the course
Track learners progress and get detailed analysis of the performance of the learners
Schedule live online classes and keep the track of attendance
Provide recordings of the live sessions in the right place
Helps in planning assessments, grading and providing feedback
Encourage peer learning through discussion forums
Track student’s doubts and queries and answer them in a timely manner
Ensure students have web and mobile access to all aspects of your course irrespective of where they are