I read a tweet this morning that asked; if you could be in the 1% of experts for any skill, what would that be? I have been building my skills in the design of online learning for several years, so it got me thinking about what expertise looks like in my field. I wrote the following question at the top of a page and started to make a list.
How would you go about becoming an expert at designing online learning?
Here are my steps to developing expertise in the design of online and blended learning courses. If you have questions or what to add to the list, message me on Twitter.
- Follow a documented set of learning and design principles
- Develop a model for estimating effort and costs
- Follow a repeatable development process
- Know the fundamentals of project management and follow them religiously
- Treat the course creator like the hero of the story, support them and collaborate.
- Have a Quality Assurance process linked to the design principles
- Set clear expectations for students, create metrics to monitor against these, and have interventions in place when they are not met.
- Collect and analyse lots of data and user feedback
- Iterate, iterate, iterate
- Frequently update your learning and design principles, costing model, and development process
Notes: Firstly, I have explicitly focused on the design of courses and separated this from the very different development and delivery skills. Secondly, I have taken some liberties by putting all the learning and design principles into a single step. These two areas are vast and cover everything from accessibility and user experience to psychology and learning and teaching models. Thirdly, within the third step of following the development process, I currently prefer to use the rapid prototyping model that follows the Design thinking steps, including the creation of student personas, and UCL’s ABC workshop for mapping out the course. Finally, this is the first attempt at a list, and I might wake up tomorrow and realise I have missed a whole section of the field and need to update this list. If you are in the area already or are interested in developing your expertise, then I hope this list is useful.
If you have questions or want to add to the list, message me on Twitter. I would love to see other peoples lists for building expertise in the design of online courses too.