What Makes a Good Online Course? Part 4

December 1, 2020

Part 4: Learning Materials

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In order to create an effective online course that honors diverse learning styles, your instructor should strive to integrate a variety of learning materials and assessment methods into their class. Learning materials refer to the type of content provided to you by your instructor, and assessment methods determine whether the course content is meeting both your learning needs and course objectives.

Imagine taking a 16-week online course that consisted only of plain-text articles and multiple-choice quizzes. While articles and quizzes have their place in an online course, the stagnancy of a single learning material and assessment method would likely make you feel disengaged, bored, and potentially frustrated by your online learning experience. Instead, you want an online course that celebrates individual learning styles and contains content and approaches that will challenge you and keep your mind sharp. But what does that look like?

Learning materials

You and your classmates don’t learn the same way, so it’s important that you have access to diverse learning materials that complement a variety of learning styles. Visual learners will appreciate infographics and auditory learners will enjoy podcasts or other educational recordings. Presentations suit organized learners while live sessions really work for extroverted learners who like to take an active role in asking questions. For a more in-depth look at the type of possible learning materials you might encounter in an online course, check out the list below:

  1. Videos can provide additional learning support by animating or recording certain topics. For instance, a zoology instructor may include a recording of animals in the wild rather than depending on the photos in your book.
  2. Presentations are a series of slides that help condense and summarize a topic into a more manageable and streamlined learning aid.
  3. Infographics are the visual representation of data results, research findings, report summaries, or any kind of information that requires a quick overview without a lengthy explanation.
  4. Podcasts are audio-only streams that are often written and produced by subject matter experts, or they feature interviews with experts in specific fields.
  5. Live web sessions are real-time events that usually allows participants to interact and ask questions as the event is happening.

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