Prior to my time at BSU, I didn’t really have any experience with online courses. As an elementary music educator the majority of my training and PD has been in-person. When I first started at BSU (3 years ago), I found that the online courses were hard for me, because I found Moodle to be a bit confusing and missed the live interaction with professors when I needed something clarified. As time went on, I got used to the platform and now enjoy many aspects of online learning…mainly the interactions and in-depth learning with classmates.
For me, I am learner that appreciates and thrives in concrete sequential learning environments – Tell me “What to do” and “how to do it” and I’ll get it done. I have taken online courses at BSU where the instructors moodle pages are quite busy, redundant and hard to navigate. For me, this created some anxiety and confusion early on. I definitely think a well balanced website in terms of digital media, text, and images is important for learners like me.
Another important aspect in good online courseware is understanding your learners. What is their background knowledge… learner characteristics? The more information you have on your learners, the better the courseware can be tailored.
Finally, I believe good courseware should have specific goals and intentional learning outcomes. Determining what the goals are will help provide training or courseware appropriate for the intended purpose. Specific guidelines will be more effective with different types of learning goals whether it be informational, procedural, strategic types goals. Most importantly learning must be compatible with human learning processes. By understanding the different ways people learn, we can produce online learning that is effective for all types of learners.