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10 Best Practices for Custom Learning Experiences

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A Custom Learning Experience is the overall experience of students and faculty in a program designed specifically for your institution, according to your institution's unique context.

Custom Learning Experiences can be used by higher ed institutions to drive revenue and donations, increase quality and number of applicants, support communities, and grow internationally.

Last year ExtensionEngine created 70+ Custom Learning Experiences for some 40 clients like Harvard, MIT and more. We’ve discovered the key for delivering successful Custom Learning Experiences is properly aligning pedagogy and content with technology.

Based on this experience, we’ve identified what works. This guide incorporates our 10 best practices you should implement when building you own Custom Learning Experience.

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10 Best Practices for Custom Learning Experiences

  1. 1. 1 10 Best Practicesto follow when creating a Custom Learning Experience
  2. 2. 2 When I was a professor (not that long ago), designing a class was not much more complicated than “figure out what you want to teach, and then talk about that and give an exam.” Dr. Scott Moore Me as the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Business at the University of Michigan, 2012
  3. 3. 3 Today, the adoption of online learning is exploding and this has opened up many new design considerations. • Build vs Buy • Content management • Hosting • Live Interactions • Messaging • Security • Mobile Support • 3rd Party Integrations PLATFORM: • Anchored Instruction • Authentic Assessment • Competency Based Education • Connectivist • Constructivist • Didactic • Peer-based learning • Project-based learning • Scaffolded Practice PEDAGOGY: • Adaptive • Interactives • Live video • Recorded video • Simulations • Text CONTENT:
  4. 4. 4 The sweet spot of online learning is where pedagogy, content, and platform are inseparable. con tent pe dagogy pl atform Content is digitized, searchable, modular for multiple deployments, and integrated into a network of other learning resources. Pedagogy takes advantage of contemporary technology, including the instant availability and storage capability for digital content. Platform supports pedagogy while enabling discovery of content.
  5. 5. 5 A program which strikes this sweet spot is known as a Custom Learning Experience
  6. 6. 6 Custom Learning Experience The overall experience of students and faculty in a program designed specifically for your institution, according to your institution’s unique context. All IP and revenue remain yours. Custom learning experiences can be used by higher ed institutions to drive revenue, increase quality and number of applicants, support communities, and grow internationally. Defined: Uses:
  7. 7. 7 In the last 18 months we’ve had 70+ product launches for some 40 clients including elite universities, corporations and foundations… programs that touched millions of learners. Our Clients
  8. 8. 8 Interested in learning how elite colleges and universities have used online learning to drive initiatives across research, pre-matriculation, post-graduation, and for-credit programs? Read on for the 10 best practices Download our Whitepaper
  9. 9. 9 Now that you know what a Custom Learning Experience is, here are 10 Best Practicesto follow when creating a Custom Learning Experience
  10. 10. 10 Who are your target learners? (Think personas.) What prior knowledge do they bring to your program? What are their wants, fears, desires? What do you know about their specific context and use cases in an online setting? 1. Determine Learner Personas
  11. 11. 11 What are the outcomes your program aims to achieve with the target learners? Ideally, you can define an entire knowledge graph complete with a hierarchy and taxonomy for your learning objectives. 2. Define Learning Objectives
  12. 12. 12 Are you using a specific pedagogical model (e.g., instructivist, constructivist, connectivist) or a hybrid of many? Is it pure online or blended? Some styles are better than others but context matters. 3. Establish Program Pedagogy
  13. 13. 13 Are there unique elements of the learner experience that you want incorporated? Is it going to be synchronous or asynchronous? Social? Video intensive? Immersive? Mobile only? 4. Outline the Learner Experience
  14. 14. 14 Want to view this SlideShare as a PDF? Read on for best practice #5 Download this Document
  15. 15. 15 What platform will support your pedagogy and content? Is it open source, proprietary, custom, or hybrid? Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. 5. Specify the Learning Platform
  16. 16. 16 Who will be your subject matter experts? What form will the content take? Content can be licensed or created (or both). Will you need to design new “teaching elements” that are interactive or can you integrate existing tools into your course? 6. Define the Content Details
  17. 17. 17 What is your assessment framework, e.g. authentic assessment? Both formative and summative assessments are a core part of a successful online learning program. You will also want to define whether and what type of certification or credentials you will be offering and tie that to your assessment strategy. 7. Decide on Assessments and Certifications
  18. 18. 18 Where is the “home” of the program and who is responsible for operations and support of the program? What are the resources available in-house and what resources can be outsourced? 8. Find an Operations Organization
  19. 19. 19 What services are you planning to offer in addition to the core learning? For example, will there be personalized coaching or tutoring? Are there optional, value-added services? 9. Define Support Services
  20. 20. 20 How will you measure success? Set up both long- and short-term analytics. Long-term analytics allow you to look at learner outcomes, content performance, etc. Short-term analytics allow you to measure and react in real- time. You can use analytics to create a Plan-Do- Check-Act cycle for learning. 10. Build in Analytics
  21. 21. 21 All of the activities above cost money to plan, implement and operate, so who is going to pay for that? The underlying necessity to everything discussed above is knowing what sustaining business model exists for the program. Ok we said 10, but this one is important... 11. Identify a Business Model
  22. 22. 22 I’m assuming that this comes across as a fairly expansive list. Custom learning experiences require a lot of planning and coordination—but that’s what we’re here for. We’ve launched 70+ Custom Learning Experiences in the last 18 months, and have learned a tremendous amount along the way. Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Scott Moore
  23. 23. 23 About Me and ExtensionEngine We are experts in Custom Learning Experiences. 70+ product launches for some 40 clients including elite universities, corporations and foundations... programs that have touched millions of learners to date. Services include platform and course development, strategy, instructional design, operational analytics, custom xBlock development, theming, hosting, on-going maintenance and support. References & Clients include Harvard University, MIT, College of the Holy Cross, Boise State University, Microsoft, The Smithsonian Institution, Ethicon, edX. Dr. Scott Moore ExtensionEngine Chief Learning Strategist LinkedIn: @drsamoore Twitter: @drsamoore Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Scott Moore

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