Is an online course effective when the user is a passive receiver of the information who then posts a quick discussion statement for credit? We think not!
We think an online course should be interactive, rich in content, and allow users multiple ways of learning information. This is our approach!
Edtrove courses strive to create a unique learning experience for educators. While no platform or course can meet the expectations of all types of learners, our aim is to incorporate multiple components and approaches to our content. By using a myriad of tools we think the results will meet the needs of a broad array of learners.
To ensure our Edtrove Course Creators (ECC’s) are offered a roadmap with guidelines we have encapsulated four pillars that form the framework of any course.
There are numerous activities within every Edtrove course to fully engage our online users. Our aim is for users to demonstrate their understanding of the content while intensifying their engagement with that content throughout the course. You, as Edtrove contributors, are essential in incorporating authentic content and activities that connect real-world-classroom relevance and content knowledge.
Edtrove instructors also encouraged to apply inquiry-based learning (IBL), requiring learners to investigate questions related to the content throughout the course.
One strategy to implement and establish IBL is through the implementation of Know, Want to Know, and Learned (KWL) charts.
Using KWL charts, users explore areas they are unfamiliar with and develop questions to guide them in this exploration. Eventually leading to a project based on their questions in the KWL chart to guide their learning.
According to research, users feel a heightened level of engagement when they receive regular updates about current and upcoming content. All attempts to increase social presence creates a simulative environment of real-world experience for the user.
Implementing methods to increase social presence can translate virtual experiences into tangible connections for online students.
One method is the implementation of Online Professional Learning Communities (PLC). Edtrove courses have virtual (PLC) groups (whose members can collaborate through emails, forum boards, video chats, etc.) to discuss issues or topics related to the course content.
PLCs are useful for collaboration with authentic activities and assisting with peer scaffolding to support users. Alternatively, instructors can also work on specific group assignments (geographic, institutional, learning level, etc.), unlike open PLCs. Effective group management is determined by who handles what assignment or component. Role assignment is critical in scenarios as well.
To assist users as they collaborate, instructors must provide easy instructions. Edtrove provides infographic that outlines sections of the PLC’s assignments, select a specific area for contributions, etc. Edtrove can offer emerging technology tools such as wikis, collaborative blogs, and podcasts to collaborate further.
After integrating user involvement in the course and with you the instructor, the next aim is to increase collaboration between peers. We acknowledge that collaboration in an online environment is challenging or near impossible. However, we may be able to improve collaboration among our users through some simple strategies.
Firstly, collaboration has to be seamless and beneficial while baked into key parts of the course design.
Our system allows for the Instructors to assign roles within the PLC to assist with the active participation of all students.
Develop the course/learning modules by planning backwards as to where you want to have your learner arrive.
Instructors take a birds-eye of all the content they wish to cover, and then identify thematic chunks of information. These thematic chunks become units or learning modules that are a short-term approach to long-term planning. Within these learning modules, instructors provide tasks, assignments and supplemental resources, and tools to enhance content mastery.
LASTLY, an overview page that outlines all readings, tasks, and assignments required for the module, along with corresponding due dates for each item. Learners are more successful on assignments when they know expectations.
Often Edtrove instructors, as they progress on their path, find they have mountains of information. All this needs to be incorporated into the online learning environment (LMS), which may create a disordered learning stage.
To create an ordered and effective online learning stage environment in the courses, we need to adhere to a clear and consistent structure which facilitates intuitive navigation.
So, each module should have the same structure. The location of examples, videos, reading materials, assignments, tasks, collaborative opportunities, etc. should always be in the same location and format. Also, each module resembles the previous modules, with updated content and learning outcomes.
Another critical aspect of effective online course design involves presenting content through mediated micro sessions, so users engage with small learning units on short-term assignments.
An effective way to deal with the mountain of content that most instructors want to include in their course offering is to do it BACKWARDS.
We can all agree that a reflective educator (or student) is a successful educator (or student).
Edtrove aims to apply several strategies that instructors can use to practice reflective strategies to improve the learning environment for users.
Reflective practitioners use the evaluation phase to review their courses through the lens of best practices. We use several ways to improve reflection upon course designs is through user feedback and according to research-based rubrics.
Successful instructional course design needs a performance evaluation process that has flexible guidelines. Follow the ADDIE framework, which has five phases that are the basis of content design: