Instructional Design for Online Learning (Step Two)

August 09, 2017

 

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This is the second in a series of blog posts addressing key steps for creating high-quality online learning content.  In the first post (Step 1: Discovering Good Content), I describe factors to consider when searching the internet for learning resources that can be reused and repurposed.

Once you have completed the first step of finding learning content that you can reuse or repurpose, the next step is to make that content understandable and engaging to help your students work with and learn from it.

Instructional Design for Online Learning (Step 2): Reusing and Repurposing Learning Content

There are many different ways to repurpose and reuse content, and what works best may depend on a number of factors, including:

The Discipline
What works well in history may not in mathematics. This is where the teacher's pedagogical experience is crucial, in terms of knowing what works best in getting across to students particular areas of content or approaches to learning.

The Content
Some content may already be understandable and engaging enough without doing much or anything to it. In other cases, the content may be good, but the language may be difficult or the assumptions about previous knowledge may not be appropriate.

The Learner
Assuming you are creating lessons for your own students, you can take advantage of your knowledge of the academic backgrounds, interests, and capabilities of your students to provide the right amount of scaffolding to support learning.

These considerations will help guide you in deciding how to shape, revise or repurpose the content to best meet the needs of your students.

Other factors that will impact the degree to which you shape, revise or repurpose existing content are:

  • Time—sometimes you can make quick tweaks and sometimes the work required may be more extensive
  • Interest/Commitment—these are often affected by the content author’s comfort level and experience with technology generally and with content authoring specifically
  • Support—the availability of local peers or experts who can share experience or offer help can be extremely valuable in terms of gaining technical support, and gaining insight into what’s possible
  • Resource Availability—how much effort you spend may depend on how many other learning resources are already available for that unit of learning. 
  • Reusability—the extent to which the content you develop represents a uniquely informative asset that can continue to be used for some time, or for more than one purpose


With the enormous resources available online today, developing high quality online learning content for your students or program doesn’t have to be arduous.  By reusing and repurposing existing material, you can develop high quality, pedagogically effective, learning materials that meet the unique  needs of your learners.


About Robert Godwin-Jones, Ph.D.:  Robert Godwin-Jones, Ph.D., is a founding partner and responsible for product  research and design. Prior to SoftChalk, Robert was a founding partner of madDuck Technologies where he was a co-developer of the Web Course in a Box Learning
Management System. He is the former Director of the Instructional Development Center at Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently a faculty member in their School of World Studies. His principal areas of research are in applied linguistics and international studies. He writes a regularcolumn on emerging technologies for the peer-reviewed journal Language Learning & Technology (llt.msu.edu) and blogs on intercultural communication at http://acrossculturesweb.com/wp/.

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