How to Create Quality Online Learning Content
The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools all over the world to close their doors. This left school administrators scrambling to implement elearning and distance learning as a way to educate their students. What ensued was a melee of edtech companies jockeying for position in an attempt to garner market share.
Also, the closing of schools shined a spotlight on the digital inequities that exist between the haves and the have nots. Even though schools implemented elearning initiatives to educate their students, they found out that many of their students lived in households that did not have an internet connection and did not own a computer device. Thankfully, schools and philanthropic organizations rose to the occasion to provide solutions to these problems.
Next, they tackled another elephant in the room: Will we continue to be held ransom by edtech companies, or should we use a free LMS like Google Classroom and create and deliver our elearning content? Many are opting for the latter and saving millions of dollars in the process. If your school district wants to go this route, you will need to understand how to create quality online learning content. In this article, we will show you how to do just that.
1. Start where you are
What’s essential, and what’s nice to have? That is, what has to be done, and what would be nice to put online but won’t jeopardize your goals if it is not included? If you need more objectivity, have someone review this question with you. Who is your audience? Are there any special constraints such as bandwidth, language, or learning difficulties to be overcome? Making online learning accessible to as many as possible is essential.
2. Do some curriculum mapping
Perform an audit of your curriculum. How can we structure it for the online learning environment? Does one classroom session mean one online module or one live session? Don’t think about specifics now. Just focus on your outline. A good strategy for clarity is to list your learner outcomes at the top of a page, then create a table below it with your classroom sessions on the left and your online solutions on the right. This ensures you remain aligned with what you want to achieve and don’t miss anything essential.
3. Adapt your content for online teaching and learning
Now that you’ve finalized the essentials and the content organization, it’s time to contemplate how you can transfer onsite activities online. I’ve often said that most things are possible if we think creatively. Of course, so much is possible online, including some things that couldn’t be done at all or easily in an on-site class. However, some things are complicated or impossible to do online. Be realistic about the pros and cons of the tools you are using.
4. Don’t try to be perfect
As an overachiever, this is hard to write. However, we must be willing to weigh our expectations for the elearning content against the need to maintain essential quality. With time and other constraints, you may not be able to create the same classes as you used to. Perhaps you don’t need to have polished graphics and professionally produced videos. Maybe free graphics will do with videos recorded on your laptop or phone. It may be that you can forgo creating that amazing simulation or activity because it takes half the allotted course development time to set up. Doing things imperfectly now does not mean that you cannot go back and improve it sometime in the future.
So, there you have it, four strategies for creating your own high quality online learning content. Do you have any additional tips, techniques, or strategies that you would like to share with our readers? If so, leave them in the comment section below.