TOP 5 tips to Convert your Traditional Course into an eLearning format
How would you go about converting a face to face course to an elearning format?
During my MBA program at BGSU I remember Dr. Garcia saying "Cash is the King". In our case you should always remember that "eLearning Content is the KING". As a result, I assume that in your f2f course you use the most amazing content.
At this post I will answer the following two eLearning questions as well:
- What are the criteria for determining if a face to face course actually is convertible to elearning?
- Assuming the course is convertible, what are the considerations when determining whether synchronous or asynchronous elearning is best?
So here are my Top 5 Tips that you will help you convert your traditional course into an eLearning format:
1) Identify the eLearning Course Format
A f2f course can be converted in the following three eLearning formats.
- Asynchronous Learning: Learning in which interaction between instructors and students occurs intermittently with a time delay. Examples are self-paced courses taken via the Internet, Q&A mentoring, online discussion groups, and email. A primary area of investment in corporate eLearning development is asynchronous learning. As opposed to traditional instructor-led training or even distance learning that centers on teleconferencing and online presentations, asynchronous eLearning occurs in an environment where a single learner interacts directly with content via a technology system, maximizing flexibility in timing and access for the learner by allowing learner control of pace, schedule, and location.
- Synchronous Learning: A real-time, instructor-led online learning event in which all participants are logged on at the same time and communicate directly with each other. In this virtual classroom setting, the instructor maintains control of the class, with the ability to "call on" participants. In most platforms, students and teachers can use a whiteboard to see work in progress and share knowledge. Interaction may also occur via audio- or videoconferencing, Internet telephony, or two-way live broadcasts. Commonly supported by media such as videoconferencing and chat, has the potential to support e-learners in the development of learning communities. Learners and teachers experience synchronous eLearning as more social and avoid frustration by asking and answering questions in real time. Synchronous sessions help e-learners feel like participants rather than isolates
- Hybrid / Blended Learning: Learning events that combine synchronous and asynchronous learning, and face-to-face instruction.
The question that will be raised is "What eLearning format is best for me"? According to research and to my experience the eLearning format that has the most advantages is the Hybrid Learning format because it uses the pros of the synchronous and asynchronous learning. If you still want help to answer this question I will highly encourage you to analyze your learners' needs. This analysis will help you to choose the right eLearning format for your course.
2) Research the Instructional Design Models
I am sure that you are familiar with ADDIE. However, ADDIE is not a universal solution! Based in my experience Robert Gagne's instructional design model, which is best know as the Nine Events of Instruction, is the most appropriate Instructional Design Model for converting a traditional course into an eLearning format. However, to find the best Instructional Design Model you have to do your own research!
The question that will be raised is "Why it is crucial to use an IDM"? The answer is really simple. Because with the use of an IDM you will ensure that learning is happen more safely, certainly, thoroughly, and expeditiously than might otherwise happen. At the same time, you will facilitate the learning process such that learners require less time, incur less risk, and invest less energy than those who learned from the raw world without assistance.
3) Use of Interaction
Interaction is the most important aspect of an eLearning course. However, you should know why you use interaction and what you want to achieve. I have seen several eLearning courses full of interaction that is waste of time... Moore (1989) believes that interaction is a central component of online education and he describes three types of interaction:
- Learner to Content: The learner to content interaction refers to the interaction between the learner and the content or subject matter. Moore believes that if a learner interacts with the content/subject matter, then changes in the learner's understanding occur.
- Learner to Instructor: The learner to instructor interaction refers to the interaction between the learner and an instructor, tutor, mentor, or content expert. The second type of interaction occurs via print, electronic dialog, e-mail, computer conferencing, or electronic online classroom discussions, and
- Learner to Learner(s): The learner to learner interaction can occur outside of or in group settings with or without an instructor present. The third type of interaction occurs when learners engage in discussion moderated by the instructor. At the same time, learners' groups may be given responsibility to act autonomously for conducting group projects, or other forms of group-lead activities.
Based on the eLearning Course Format and the Instructional Design Model that you will use you will be able to choose the type(s) of interaction that you will use at your eLearning course.
4) Choose the right educational technology.
In my opinion learning becomes more effective when people are mutually active with the learning materials, with the learning environment. Learning, by manufacturing innovative materials for other learners and by communicating with them about these materials, enhance their learning abilities. For example, based on social constructionist pedagogy eFront offers several interactive course features that will enhance an eLearning course. The three types of interaction are built into eFront to accomplish certain learning objectives.
Interaction between L2C
- YouTube video
- Add Blocks
Interaction between L2I
- Quiz (Test)
- Conference (video chat)
- Quick email
Interaction between L2L(s)
Technology is the median and you should definitely do your own research to find the most appropriate educational technology that you will help you achieve your outcomes.
5) Revision Procedures
After you convert you f2f course into an eLearning format you may believe that it is time to offer it to your learners. WRONG! You should definitely revise your eLearning course before you offer it to your learners. The following revisions procedures worked for me and I highly encourage you to follow them.
- Survey: a participant evaluation form should be created and address effectiveness of each module in four areas: Course and Site Design, Navigation, and Design Aesthetics. The survey should have both qualitative (short answer) and quantitative (summative) questions on topics such as, but not limited to, usability, interface design, accessibility, audience analysis, content/course materials, and instructional design standards. If you need help with the creation of a Survey I can help you out! Concerning the technology that you will use I encourage you to use SurveyMonkey. SurveyMonkey is an easy-to-use tool for the creation of online surveys. Its primary strength is its intuitive Web interface, which makes it easy for even non-technical people to create surveys and export-collected data.
- Implementation of Alpha Testing and Expert Panel: A panel of experts should review your course. When I am saying a panel of experts I mean subject matter experts, instructional designers, eLearning developers, etc.
- Revision of the Web-based Course: Based on their constructive feedback you have to begin the revision of your eLearning course.
- Implementation of Beta Testing and Expert Panel: After the revision of your eLearning course the same experts should re-test your eLearning course.
- Analysis of Data: Based on their constructive feedback you should further improve your eLearning course.
- Revision of the Web-based Course: Now is the time to do the final revision and make your eLearning course available to you learners.
In addition, keep in mind that you should always revise your eLearning course based on your learners' constructive feedback.