Online learners are starting to walk with their feet.
The main reason is they are feeling left behind.
They’ve paid and then are left to struggle through a course on their own or amidst a sea of other learners.
What’s that? You have over 100 people and can’t possibly attend to them all. Tough, figure it out – you are their teacher.
SHOW UP! and not in some prerecorded video. Geez.
Now, I admit not all courses need lots of facilitation. Below I outline the types of courses and what they need.
Online tutorial: This type of delivery is short and sweet, and focuses on ‘how to’ do something. For instance, I learned via a cooking website how to cleverly cut a mango without mangling it death (like I usually do).
Online workshop: These would be intensive 4 to 7 days of engagement online that has students being very active. The topic is a bit more complex than how to cook something, and requires an investment of time and energy by the students. Lots should result from a workshop. Think hobby workshops.
Online course: A fully online course usually spans 4 to 12 weeks. It is very involved and teaches many layers of knowledge and skills to a learner. With this much time, learners can expect to be exposed to a variety of topics, lessons, activities, assessments and projects. The learning outcomes (results) are significant.
Online program: A program can be a series of courses or a course with multi-layers, intensive interactions (i.e. retreats, community work, etc.), and time for development. It is more comprehensive than a course and has many goals.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): This type of delivery is free (i.e. open) and sees enrollment of hundreds or thousands of students – they are becoming popular with mainstream universities. Because of the online access, those in developing worlds are flocking to these courses. Pre-recorded videos or audios are provided, along with content in text, graphical or slide format. The courses vary in length.
Think what a tutorial, workshop, course or program would look like in terms of support, communications, and learning community if delivered in person.
Then, try to replicate that online – it will look different but the same interaction, connection and support need to be there.
I talk more about learning communities in this post.
As I stated, learners will become increasingly frustrated with online learning if they feel lost, isolated or frustrated. These are common feelings of e-learners.
I know, I have been teaching online for years and I’ve heard all the complaints. So, take care of your learners – it will go far in them succeeding and coming back to you for more. Promise.