Online learning

Last week I posted about blended learning and some factors that one needs to consider when thinking about including online learning in one’s course design.

The first thing I had to do was understand the terminology used and what others meant by online learning!  I like the infographics created by Edudemic titled Technically Speaking.  It is a good start to learn some of the lingo out there.

Some additional ones I encountered were as follows:


Content (typically in a PowerPoint) presented to learners, where they have some limited interaction with the content (through links and hotspots of information).  It is a one way learning event, where there is no interaction with an instructor or other learners.


A presentation made to learners.  Audio and video can be included.  Usually if large numbers are attending, then the presenter makes the session one way to reduce confusion among the learners.  There is some chat function available should there be questions from the audience.  Typically the session can later be accessed if recorded by the presenter.

Virtual learning room

There are several options using this feature, where you can share video and audio.  Chat with audience, take polls and break them out into smaller groups to get specific tasks done.  You may also share files, links and desktop.  There is also an option to record the session for later use.

Depending on your audience’s needs, the content to be covered, your learning objectives and the technology that is available, it may be beneficial to consider any one of the above formats to include technology in your course.

There are also platforms such as Moodle and Blackboard where you can share content, links and start discussion threads.  You may also group the learners out so they may concentrate on different topics and if needed then they can share their ideas with the rest of the group.

There are lots of options available when it comes to technology and bringing it in the classroom.  The hard part is deciding which to choose, so I highly recommend you do an in-depth needs analysis before designing your course to ensure not only that learning is accomplished but that your audience is kept engaged.




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