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(c) Alastair Horne

(c) Alastair Horne

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  • 1. Online course design Image and presentation structure by Sarah Turnbull.
  • 2. Clarity
    • Don't be too flashy !
    • Just because you can do more visually in an online course than you can in print, it doesn't mean you have to.
    • Make sure that your visual effects add value, and don't distract the learner's attention.
    • Too much variation may be counter- productive .
  • 3. Clarity
    • However...
    • Don't forget that a little complexity in your visuals can add to the learning.
    • “ cognitive friction” can make learning more memorable
  • 4. Clarity
    • Both students and teachers need to be clear about the learning objectives throughout.
    • Teachers creating the course need to be clear as to what the objectives are while designing the course.
    • They must make sure that each activity clearly serves the objectives.
    • If students are clear as to what the learning objectives are, and how activities relate to them, the activities will seem more relevant.
    Objectives “ we are telling the students exactly how they will demonstrate that learning has taken place on an assessment”
  • 5. Clarity
    • Assessment should be critical part of the design of course from the very start ; not an add-on .
    • If students are clear from the start as to how they'll be assessed, they'll focus more on how they're going to use what they learn - especially if the assessment is closely linked to real-life activities!
    Assessment criteria “ Design that assessment first. Then design the instruction that leads to that goal.” “ [authentic assessment] tasks are either replicas of or analogous to the kinds of problems faced by adult citizens and consumers or professionals in the field."
  • 6. Clarity
    • Without the non-verbal clues found in face-to-face communication, guidelines for online courses need clarity more than ever.
    • Don't overwhelm students by giving them all the guidelines at once; give them the guidelines they need, when they need them.
  • 7.
    • Even apparently simple instructions can be misunderstood !
    • Using a self-test to check understanding of the instructions can build student confidence and highlight misunderstandings early, when they can still easily be rectified .
    Simplicity Instructions “ If instructions are clear and guidelines are specific to the learning task, students are more likely to prepare.”
  • 8.
    • Allow students different learning paths ...
    • … but always make sure that the route – and the final destination – are clear.
    • (You can't ensure that the course will always be used in the way and the order that you intended.)
    Simplicity Navigation
  • 9. Simplicity
    You don't need to build the Taj Mahal!