Well-structured assignments make the difference in Learning via eLearning.
Over the past few years I have followed a number of eLearning courses – both free MOOCs and paid courses. They have been hosted by a range of platforms including Coursera, EdX, Future Learn, NovoEd, Digital Scholar and Canvas. These courses have exposed me to a range of approaches to eLearning design and allowed me to reflect on those where I learned the most.
An eLearning course contains a mix of elements offered in themed modules: video lectures, slides, readings, quizzes, assignments, peer review, discussion forums and course moderation.
In my view, video is a must. I want to see and hear the expert(s) who are sharing their content. Once I paid for a course from a reputable institution and was astonished to find that the content was delivered via power point slides. This may be ok for a free course, but if I have paid for the content, I expect video to be part of the package.
Quizzes facilitate learning, especially when you can redo them several times and that peer review facilitates learning by seeing a range of answers and benefitting from the guidance of a well-designed review guide, according to Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera (speaking at a business school conference).
Well-structured assignments are the most impactful element for me. Well-structured means the assignment is clearly defined, a template has been provided, it is applied to a real project of my choice, and guidelines for peer review are provided to complete the assignment and for the peer review.
I don’t put in as much time and effort into completing assignments as for a graded course. My objective is learning, however, and I can learn a lot by participating without the need to excel. These well-structured assignments combined with my commitment to finish has made the difference in the learning value of an eLearning course.
Now back to you. Is your eLearning program designed to provide maximum learning impact?