Virtual Learning Takes Work: 5 Keys


Contrary to some popular opinions, virtual learning takes preparation and often more planning than f2f classes or courses.  It takes work!  How to put your best digital foot forward?

Five Keys to Success

1.  Know your audience.  Who are your potential students?  Career professionals or high school freshmen?  The answer will drive the type of e-learning experience you design.  Adult learners have unique styles as surely does the high school freshman when it comes to online learning.

2.  Determine goals.  As Stephen Covey (Dr. Stephen Covey) wrote "begin with the end in mind."   What behaviors will students demonstrate upon successful completion of the seminar or course?  These goals should be based on participant need in light of the course content.  Thus, you really need to know your audience and content.

3.  Prompt valuable interaction.  The online teacher cannot see nor always hear her class.  Eventually this will change but for now e-learning software has fairly limited interaction modes.  Whether it is a webinar poll or a question prompting posts, create interactions that have meaning.  Respond to the results.  When interactions are used as filler, interest rarely grows.

4.  Design blueprint in bite size experiences.  A blueprint is mandatory.  It will guide the total design and development.  Remember to keep lessons robust, bite size pieces.  More bites are better than a few giant chunks. 

5.  Tap defined, aligned, articulated content.  As Kent of  SeminarWeb and others have noted, "content is king."  Draw from established sources and leave the audience wanting more.  If the content well is deep enough, students will want to come back for more.