Three Things to Consider when Designing your next Learning Experience

When you’re developing an eLearning course, there is always an overload of “practical” stuff that you have to keep in mind. Development timelines, coordinating with subject matter experts, and making sure all the nuts and bolts are ready for the launch day of your course. 

In the midst of all the details, I like to stop and consider how I can make each course I develop more effective than the last. There’s always a new angle or strategy out there to consider. I’m sharing 3 ideas here and I hope you’ll try them out.

Continue reading “Three Things to Consider when Designing your next Learning Experience”

Empowering Students to Seek and Find: An Interview with Kurt Hoffman

Kurt Hoffman clasps his hands close to his face and looks directly toward the camera.
Photo credit: Colleen Anderson, SAU 2019 Photography grad

Kurt Hoffman is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Spring Arbor University (SAU) in Spring Arbor, Michigan. He has two Master’s degrees from Arizona State University: Master of Public Administration and Master of Social Work. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Humanities, with a concentration in the anthropology of human flourishing and the philosophy of social issues, racism in particular. Kurt lives in Concord, Michigan with his wife and three children.

This is only a tiny slice of Kurt Hoffman.

Continue reading “Empowering Students to Seek and Find: An Interview with Kurt Hoffman”

Facilitating an online course: Five ways for getting it right

The first online course I developed and facilitated was Fundamentals of Speech. I was determined to get it right, because I had graduated from an online program and understood first-hand the pitfalls and frustrations students go through with a weak facilitator. In the very first week of the course I realized that it takes a lot of work to facilitate well! The second thing I realized was that it was so worth it—and so rewarding.

Since then, I’ve developed and facilitated many online courses, and enjoy being the eLearning certification trainer for new online and blended faculty at Spring Arbor University.

Continue reading “Facilitating an online course: Five ways for getting it right”

Dear Instructor—Take This Test

The next time you sit down to write a test, to place a quiz in your online course, or send off a test key to your instructional designer, ask YOURSELF some questions:

  • Will the quiz motivate your students?
  • Can you explain why each question is on the test?
  • Are you using your test to promote learning?

Punitive to Positive

Which of those words has a better ring to it? Consider making the quiz a vehicle for delivering a sense of purpose and motivating your students.

Continue reading “Dear Instructor—Take This Test”

5 Things I do when I need Inspiration

Last week, Dave talked about a few strategies for beating design slumps. I thought I’d build on that and chime in with a few specifics—namely some of my favorite places to go for inspiration when I’m stuck. Continue reading “5 Things I do when I need Inspiration”

3 Things I Learned Working with Subject Matter Experts in my First Year as an ID

In my first year as an instructional designer (ID), I worked with college faculty to develop the courses they had taught face-to-face into online courses. I was eager to dive into my new role, create successful courses, and stick to a 3-month timeline for each project.

A few key lessons that I encountered in those early days continue to guide my work. Continue reading “3 Things I Learned Working with Subject Matter Experts in my First Year as an ID”

Student-Centered Faculty Training

A few years ago, a friend stopped by for a visit. When it was time for her to leave, I walked her to the front door where we chatted a bit. I slipped on a pair of black flats sitting in front of the door and continued talking. We exhausted our good-byes, and my friend grew silent.

Finally she said: “I’d leave if I could have my shoes!”

It turns out we had the very same shoes, and I had slipped HERS on by mistake! #embarrassing

A Mile in a Student’s Shoes Builds Empathy

In the context of teaching and learning online, Continue reading “Student-Centered Faculty Training”

Make your eLearning More Authentic

Have you noticed that our culture is beginning to value authenticity over authority?

We’re tired of being told. We want to be asked.

We’re tired of overly-complicated wordsmithing. We want clear and concise information.

We’re tired of not knowing. We want to be kept in the loop.

Authenticity is what we all crave. Continue reading “Make your eLearning More Authentic”

Who is Your Audience?

Instructional designers agree on one fundamental concept of course design: you must know your audience. This article focuses on an emerging audience and proposes a not-so-new strategy for designing eLearning that works for it. Continue reading “Who is Your Audience?”

Three Ways to Become Student-Centered

Our eLearning Team is moving toward student-centered learning in our courses. This approach is often miles away from how the course existed in the past, or how the subject matter expert envisions the online course to be.

I have found three ways to help our team and SMEs move toward becoming student-centered in all of our course development projects.

First, provide onboard training for online/blended instructors. Next, build interaction into every course. And finally, establish and sustain teacher presence while facilitating the course. Continue reading “Three Ways to Become Student-Centered”