Designing Instruction for Online Learning

What is my personal “best method” of designing instruction?

I use 4 simple steps.

  1. Focus on mapping out the topics of instruction for each week of the course (6 weeks = 6 topics)
  2. Write the learning objectives for each week.
  3. Create the assessment items that will carefully measure the learning outcomes that I have highlighted in the objectives.
  4. Then carefully choose the content that is necessary for the learner to be successful in achieving those outcomes.

It is a combination of competency or learning outcomes based design, backward design, and rapid instructional design methodologies.  

How did you learn to design instruction?

I have been creating online curriculum since 2001.  I learned by “doing” it.  My process became more regimented when I began working with Institutions of Higher Education in 2006 and build 100s of online courses over a period of three years.  As an instructional designer for SunGard Higher Education, I had a hand in the design and development of programs at 25 different institutions in the United States and in my current role, I’m designing programs for schools in Australia, Bejing, Manilla, Latin America, the UK, and Spain.

Does your process for designing instruction match your theoretical perspective?

Great question.  When I design my own course, yes.  But when I’m designing other’s courses, I am flexible and want to let the teaching philosophy of the instructor come through in the design of the course.  


Canvas LMS – Benefits of the LMS for teaching and learning

Using a structured space for teaching and learning:

There are many benefits from using a structured space for teaching and learning especially in the early years, undergraduate programs and in many cases even in Masters degree programs.

  • Makes teaching and learning simple by centralizing or providing a hub for learning
  • Students know where to go to find out how they are doing in the course (receive feedback and grades)
  • Communications can be documented and centralized (things tend to get lost in multiple email accounts)

How well does the structure of an LMS fit with your theory of online learning:

While the STRUCTURE of the LMS does not totally match with my theory of online learning, Canvas integrates with so many open source tools and OER content that it is the best of the platforms that are available today.  Using a Canvas course as a “hub” of the activity and repository of information for the course but leveraging the power of the open and messy web for curation, remixing, aggregation, communications, and exploration seems to be a good match for my personal theory of learning.

The reasons why I prefer Canvas as a LMS:
1. Simple User Interface
2. Flexibility – (a) allows for the addition of LTI tools (Learning Tool Interoperability) (b) allows me to choose the pedagogy and instructional design methodology
3. Video EVERYWHERE: The use of video has been proven to increase student’s sense of connectedness and belonging. Increasing their connection to the content, instructor, and fellow students can increase persistence and their overall satisfaction with the course.