One of the most exciting trends in education is the exponential growth of online learning. From massive open online courses (Moocs) to blended learning,
we’re seeing more and more learners get access to the digital resources they need to continue their education anywhere and anytime.
However, with all this change comes some challenges for educators. The best way to solve any problem is by identifying its causes and taking steps to make improvements.
That’s why it’s so important to think strategically about every facet of your educational program, especially as you implement instructional technology in online learning programs.
Teaching and Learning in Online Learning Programs
someone writing something on its diary
Online learning programs are really about more than just integrating technology. They’re about creating a completely new type of educational experience for learners.
This means establishing a new teaching culture and strategy to be successful. It means changing how instructors present information, what content is covered, and how it’s grouped by skills.
It means developing new habits around how instructors interact with students, like when and how they communicate, as well as making adjustments to the way they manage their time and resources.
These changes are important because they determine what learners experience while in your program.
The way you teach, what you cover, and the way you present information will have a major impact on how learners experience the learning environment.
If you don’t adjust, you may find learners have a negative experience that impacts their willingness to return to your program.
This is why it’s important to start by identifying what’s missing in your current teaching approach and then building an instructional strategy to address those issues.
Use Instructional Technology in Your Program
Instructional technology, whether it’s online learning tools or content creation software, can significantly improve the learning experience for your learners.
With the right direction, it can help instructors provide more personalized instruction, ensure students stay on track, and reduce the cost and time of teaching.
While it’s important to understand the benefits of technology, it’s also important to understand its limitations.
This includes understanding the limitations of your technology and the limitations of the learners in your program.
While it’s important to try new things, you also need to be cognizant of the needs of learners and their capabilities.
The Best Types of Instructional Technology for Online Learning
There are a variety of tools and software that can help you deliver quality online learning experiences. However, some are more effective than others depending on your specific needs.
on the table there is a book and a computer
When it comes to choosing the best tools for your program, it’s important to consider the following:
Content creation: There are many tools that can make creating online content easy and affordable.
These include platforms like WordPress and Squarespace, as well as online content creation software like Canva.
These tools can help you create engaging and effective online content, which in turn will make your programs more engaging for learners.
Learning management: If you’re leveraging content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Weebly,
you can easily integrate your learning management system (lMS) so you have one place to manage all your course materials.
This can help keep your program information organized and trackable, which makes it easier to support your learners.
Learning design: With some experience, anyone can design engaging courses. However, it takes an expert to design engaging learning experiences that work well with any type of content.
If you don’t have experience designing courses, it’s a good idea to partner with an instructional designer (ID) who can help you design effective learning experiences.
Digging deeper to understand the root cause
Once you’ve identified the challenges in your teaching approach and implemented new tools to address them, it’s important to dig a little deeper to understand the root cause of the issues.
What you find could reveal issues that you weren’t even aware of. For example, if you ask learners what they like best about your program, they may say how much they like the content you teach.
However, if they have a poor experience with how you teach, they may not have a good opinion of the content itself.
When you get closer to the root cause, you can find solutions that go beyond just implementing new tools.
If you ask learners what they like best about your program, but they can’t tell you, you may find that there’s an issue with how you present your content or how you communicate with learners.
How to Measure Impact of Instructional Technology on Learners
While it’s important to understand the root cause of issues, it’s also important to measure the impact of your training efforts.
This includes evaluating the success of your learners and looking closely at how they used the tools and content you provided.
This can be done in a variety of ways, but one of the best methods is to use a tool like Bloom’s Learner Engagement Framework.
This framework is designed to help you rate learner engagement by creating a scoring system that shows you exactly how engaged learners are with your online offerings.
Using this method, you can identify engagement issues that may go beyond just the tools you’re using. For example, if you notice that learners are disengaged, it could be because your program is boring or difficult to follow.
Instructional technology can significantly improve the teaching and learning experience in your programs. However, it’s important to remember that it’s just one piece of the puzzle.
If you rely solely on technology, you may find your learners experiencing issues as you adjust to the change in their learning habits.
To be successful in implementing technology, you need to have a clear strategy and make adjustments to your teaching approach.
If you do this, learners will experience positive changes in their knowledge and skills, which can have a significant impact on their future.