A good online instructor or online course designer must take into consideration the need to include in-text questions that will reinforce learning and provide answer within the same context of dialog. This is a practice to ensure the learner is actively engaged with the contents.

The practice today is to make your course materials and adjoining contents interactive with enough descriptive elements such smart tags, graphics, pictures, graphs and summary boxes. This presupposes that your learning objectives are clear enough to birth a number of learning outcomes that can be measurable and be adequately captured by your formative and summative assessments.

You must adhere to the following if you are to start online contents for learning engagements:

  • You must conceptualize your course title and topics in terms of the nature of the learning activities and interactions in terms they can relate with in both the physical and social world we live in.
  • You must ensure you debrief the academic jargons of topics into specific learning outcomes that they relate to and measure. Your learners should be able to explain your learning outcomes with utmost simplicity.
  • You must be able to make specific reference to the discipline and career path that your content is addressing. The content and context of highlighting and possible addressing the career paths must be clear in the content either as an integral or whole requirement for the discipline.

Here are some tips to make your contents interactive:

  1. Ensure you start your contents conversation in an interactive style by introducing it as a news item that will stimulate the student-learning faculty. For instance introduce your topic with a short video clip possible on you-tube. This gives your student the feeling the topics are real and not abstract. It gives the student the quest of both academic and learning journey.
  2. Give the students the opportunity to discuss the introduction of the topic among themselves online before your comments. Highlights everyone contribution. This requires your own expertise at summarizing points from everyone contribution.
  3. Seek out in your contents, activities for group discussions and break your online class for these identified activities in the topics of your contents. This must be spelt out at the beginning of the session, mostly in the study guide of the course.
  4. Encourage each group to form chat sessions purposely for the course and topics being discussed in class. These synchronous sessions has a way to create active learning opportunities among the students thus give a resemblance of a classroom environment which in turns enforces the missing shared learning present in the linear learning environment the face to face classroom.
  5. Ensure you have a problem solving or case study that your content is addressing. This will encourage critiques Readings, Problem solving and Role playing activities in the study groups among your students.

In our next topic we will look at instructional strategies for designing an online active learning.