9 Steps To Successfully Adapt Your Online Course For Face-To-Face Use
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How To Successfully Adapt Your Online Course For Face-To-Face Use

Although the trend is to move face-to-face courses online, sometimes you need to go the other way around. This is particularly common when you want to offer courses in multiple modalities to increase training accessibility. Consider those who have limited Wi-Fi connectivity, for example. So, what should we consider in moving an online course to a face-to-face delivery? Let’s consider 9 steps for successful adaptation.

1. Map Your Online Learning Content

If you haven’t done this already when you designed your online course, create an outline of your online learning content. Although it helps refresh your memory of what was included in the online course, the primary purpose of this step is to help you later when you make design decisions.

2. Review And Update Your Contextual Analysis

Look back at the contextual analysis that you completed for the online version of the course. What needs to be reconsidered now that you plan to offer the course face-to-face?

For example, where will you offer the course (instructional context)? Are there new constraints or opportunities to consider? Will different types of learners be taking the course (learner context)? Is the transfer context the same as for the online course? What are the implications of these questions for your curriculum?

3. Review Your Learning Outcomes

Your learning outcomes will likely be the same as for your online course, but they may require some tweaking based on your revised contextual analysis. This step is important, as your learning outcomes drive your design and development decisions.

4. Decide On The Delivery Format

Based on your work in the above steps, how long will the course be? Will the learners have any time off (e.g. evenings)? Are you planning to offer it in multiple ways (e.g. over four days, or one day a week over one month)? Who are the instructors?

5. Map Out Your Sessions

Review your map of the online learning content developed in step one, and decide how you will structure these sessions for face-to-face. Does one online module need to be two sessions or vice versa? Don’t consider session order (content sequencing) at this point, just decide on your session topics.

6. Decide On Evaluation Methods

The way you evaluate learning in your face-to-face course will likely be different than the way you did it online. How will you evaluate learning according to your learning outcomes? How will learners receive feedback on their performance throughout the course, and at the end?

7. Map Out Your Course Schedule

Looking at your session topics from step five, what order makes the most sense? Content sequencing may be different in your face-to-face course, but the best practice still applies. Consider your learning outcomes and content types, deciding if one content piece needs to come first to help the other content piece make sense. Consider your contextual analysis and any implications this has for content sequencing.

8. Adapt Your Content For Face-To-Face Use

In my experience, this part goes quite smoothly if you have completed the steps above and have a good online course as a base. Written or visual material from online can be turned into a lecture-style presentation. Discussion forums from online could be large or small group discussions in face-to-face. Consider other creative activities that you could not facilitate in an online environment, as long as they align with your learning outcomes. Remember to engage different types of learners - I favor the universal design for learning approach. Develop any instructional materials and consider supplementary materials, such as a facilitator’s guide.

9. Test, Test, Test

Just because your online learning course was successful, it does not mean your face-to-face course will achieve the same ends. Run a pilot version of the course. Gather data about logistics and layout, learner experience, facilitator experience, content, and activities. Use methods such as observations, discussions with participants, and participant reaction surveys. Analyze your data with others involved in facilitating the pilot. Interpret the data by considering why things happened the way they did. What factors contributed to your results? Finally, determine your way forward. What needs to change? Who will do it, and by when?

Following these 9 steps cannot guarantee your online to face-to-face adaptation will be a success, but it will make the prospect much more likely. Feel free to add your thoughts and experience in the comments below.

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