The Process of Online Course Development

An instructional designer generally follows four simple steps in the online course development process. However, while there might be various variations of the approach, the four stages below can roughly cover the broadest parts of online course design. The online instructor typically begins with an idea for a course and develops this idea into a complete course outline by following the steps below.

Working with Instructional Designers

In the first stage of the online course development process, the instructional designer works with the online instructor to develop the outline of the course. In many cases, this outline will comprise the title and purpose of the online courses. Next, the designer will work with the instructor to develop the content of the course. The content will depend upon what is needed for the particular course being taught. It could include text and graphics, audio or video, and interactive exercises.

Working with Instructional Designers.

Working with Instructors

The next stage of the online course development process involves working with the online instructors. In the case of onsite educational institutions, the instructional designers will visit the institutions and speak to the instructors about the content they want included in the course. In some cases, the actual design of the course is completed by the faculty members themselves. In other cases, it will be done by an outside instructional designer. In either case, the purpose of the contact with the instructors is to get an idea of the direction that the instructors want to take the course. Once the faculty members have approved the format of the course, the instructional designer will work with the instructors to create the course outline.

Developing the Website

The next part of the online course development process involves the development of the website. The website will contain all of the content and links necessary for the students to complete their assignments. In most cases, instructors will provide a link on the website to the web page that contains the instructions, tests, and resources that are necessary for students to complete their projects. Course creators will often work with experienced writers to write content and make the site easy to navigate.

Reviewing the Content 

Once the content is posted to the website, it must be reviewed by a customer service representative. This person will review the content and make suggestions on how to make it even better. The instructional designer will need to listen to the customer feedback and make changes in the online course development process to better meet the needs of the students. Often, the educational technology developer will be involved in many aspects of the learning objectives of the online school. He/she may have an overview of learning objectives and may even have developed the learning objectives himself/herself.

The Success of Online Schools

In order for online schools to be successful, they need to have a staff of knowledgeable instructional design models. These instructional design models will typically specialize in particular subjects and areas such as: 

  • language training, 
  • communication, 
  • financial management, 
  • computer programming. 

The instructional designers will be responsible for writing the content, developing the layout, photos, graphics, logos, posters, labels, advertisements, and other important components of an online course. Online educational institutions will often have a large number of online instructional designers as well as many adjunct instructors.

Complex Structure

Learning objectives for each subject may seem relatively simple and obvious, but they are actually very complex. The designer who is charged with learning objectives will need to consider all aspects of the institution including the student population, demographics, and geographic location. Cultural factors such as the student’s ability to comprehend and retain information may also play a role in online course development. Therefore, the designer may have to learn about culture and the perceptions of the people in various settings before he/she can create the ideal learning objectives for a specific subject. The time it takes to develop the ideal objectives may seem excessive, but when you compare the time required for traditional classrooms with that of an online classroom, you will see that the online course development process is actually quite reasonable.

The principles of best practice for online course development.

In conclusion, the success of a traditional campus-based education system depends on a combination of different important things:

  1. Quality teaching.
  2. Qualified student instructors.
  3. Comprehensive curriculum.
  4. Supportive faculty. 

The principles of best practice for online course development may be difficult to understand at first, but once you become familiar with the processes, it will become clear how much work goes into developing a quality online product. However, the rewards of a well-designed online course are nothing short of extraordinary.

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