An important aspect of designing a relevant online course is the ability to factor in students as team members who will be working collaboratively together. In terms of team projects, there are guidelines that set the tone-clearly defined roles, tasks, and timelines, team guidelines, flexibility (Heythornthwaite & Andrews (2011). The level of relevance depends on how effective the instructor is in providing support, facilitating projects that promote critical thinking and student mastery.
Studies have proven that the use of gaming and simulation provide a sense of engagement and motivation assessing both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the engagement of the activity (Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010). In an online course, gaming, and simulation should be modified to accommodate the course content.
Engaging the online learner is key to staying relevant. The components that encourage successful engagement are providing clear goals, objects, outcomes, instructor-based support and motivation that include praise and encouragement in addition to availability and consistent interaction (Junk & Deringer, 2011). In an online learning atmosphere, instructors need to communicate with students through the use of discussion boards and chat rooms (Junk & Deringer, 2011). The instructor is that of the facilitator who exhibit critically effective communication skills and organization.
Communication tools aid instructors and learners by providing an avenue for further understanding. According to Stavredes (2011). “Conceptual scaffolding guides learners regarding what to consider during learning” (p. 95). Conceptual scaffolding is used as a communication tool and is crucial to a positive experience by the participant. Tools can increase learner interest, motivation, participation, and understanding of the course concepts.
An instructor must focus on topic and not personal opinion or biased views intentionally or not. Communication must remain informative, positive, and reinforce positive learning behavior of participants. According to Haythornthwaite and Andrews (2011). “It is important to acknowledge that along with the ongoing development of organic, self-organizing communities, there are specific interventions that can help enact local groups, whether for civic engagement, work production, learning or recreation” (p. 118). Part of communication is developing a positive environment and aiding learners to participate in a community during discussion questions, learning team discussion, and possible chat room discussions.
“Discussions allow learners to think critically about the course content and consider their own thoughts and ideas in relation to the opinions of experts and peers. Writing assignments can also be structured to ensure that learners are using critical thinking as they construct papers for the course” (Stavredes, 2011, p. 113 ). The activities for reflection cause students to use critical and analytical thinking skills. The activities can be used to enhance the learning environment while increasing students’ knowledge and retention of the newly learned skills.
ADDIE instructional design model is a “systematic process created for student satisfaction and retention” (Shibley, Amaral, Shank, & Shibley, L., 2011). Analysis is conducting a needs assessment to identify goals, objectives, and the intended audience Design will be the planning of instruction on how goals will be accomplished Develop is production of the course materials Implement is delivery of the course solution Evaluation is how the students and course performance will be measured “The online learning environment affords educators an unprecedented opportunity to reach students anytime and anywhere. Gives the learner the opportunity to take advantage of higher education because of convenience and accessibility” (Fabry, 2009, p. 76). When creating instruction designers should be experienced, knowledgeable, consider learning styles, and cultural differences. “One of the great affordances of e-learning is that, with equal access to it and competence in its use, it can provide ‘universal’ or global coverage, bringing students together from a wide variety of contexts to enjoy intellectual exchange together, on the other hand there is the concomitant aspect of diversity, and cultural differences” (Stavredes, 2011, p. 225). Implementing technology along with instructional strategies to keep students engaged contributes to a positive and productive learning environment for students and facilitators.
1. Learning Team A:
Vonetta White, Lakota Leijon, and Krista Hogmire
This presentation will highlight the components of an
ideal online learning environment.
A few components that will be analyzed are
Use of gaming and simulation
Engaging the online learner
Communication tools to enhance e-learning
Instructional strategies suitable for e-learning
Opportunities for review and reflection
Designer’s roles when creating instruction
3. Effective Collaboration
Organization of learning teams
Creating a student introductory forum
Encourage team members to collaborative
Highlight the team purpose
Encourage team members to use web 2.0 tools
4. Use of Gaming and Simulation
May include content levels
Provides a range of learning opportunities
Will help learners think outside the box
Allow opportunities for students to manipulate and re-
Supports both individual and team collaboration
Set up of multiple goal structures and room for feedback
5. Engaging the Online Learner
Meeting the needs of the online learner
Guiding learners to engagement
Use of effective communication tools
Setting objectives and outcomes
Use of technology, web 2.0 tools
Involvement of instructor
6. Communication Tools to Enhance
Communication tools should:
Be compatible with all learners
Include multiple tools
Conceptual scaffolding concept used
Increase interest from the learner
Aid further understanding of concepts
Maintain cognitive, social, and teaching presence
Have available instructions on use of tools and FAQ’s
7. Instructional Strategies Suitable for
Opportunity for a positive E-learning Community
Informing learners what is expected in the course
Have a predictable schedule of activities to follow
Have a schedule to follow when setting up each week
Have a set plan on how to manage discussion questions
Develop a list of FAQ to reference when issues arise
8. Generic Rubric
9. Opportunities for Reflection and
Techniques designed to engage the learner:
Critical thinking questions
Posting comments to class discussion
10. Designer’s Role When Creating
Select and focus on course design model Ex: ADDIE
Overall course design should include content and
activities that are
There are many factors that contribute to an ideal
Course designers and facilitators should be
knowledgeable, experienced, and consider the intended
audience when designing and facilitating courses.
Instruction will need to be relevant, reflective of the latest
industry trends, and allow students to put into practice
the newly learned material.
Fabry, D. (2009). Designing Learning Experiences for
Comparability Across Delivery Methods. Journal Of
Research In Innovative Teaching, 2(1), 69-79.
Haythornthwaite, C., & Andrews, R. (2011). E-learning
Theory & Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Hoffman, B., & Nadelson, L. (2010). Motivational
engagement and video gaming: A mixed methods study.
Educational Technology Research & Development, 58(3),
13. References Continued
Junk, V., Deringer, N., & Junk, W. (2011). Techniques to
Engage the Online Learner. Research in Higher
Education Journal, 10, 1-15.
Shibley, I., Amaral, K. E., Shank, J. D., & Shibley, L. R.
(2011). Designing a Blended Course: Using ADDIE to
Guide Instructional Design. Journal of College Science
Teaching, 40(6), 80-85. Retrieved from
 Stavredes, T. (2011). Effective Online Teaching:
Foundations & Strategies for Student Success. San
Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.