Online Learning Design

Course outcomes:

What will your learners know or be able to do by the end of your course? One of the first things to do is establish powerful course outcomes. They should be 1.) learner-centered, 2.) specific 3.) measurable, and 4.) developmental.

Knowledge Activation:

When you introduce a new topic, in what ways will you be tapping into what the learner knows or doesn’t know about the topic? A survey, quick poll, writing prompt, or goal-setting activity can spark curiosity and get them primed to learn.


Microlectures are short (6 minutes or less), instructor-produced videos that are designed using a structured format to provide effective explanations of a single key concept or specific skill set. Videos are great ways to connect with your learners, but keeping them short and focused is key. (And accessible!)

Prep to Implement

At this point, it is time to begin preparing to apply what you are learning in the module. This entails identifying a skill or practice and creating a plan for implementation by completing a planning guide.


Cohort-based learning will already include opportunities to connect with fellow learners, ask questions, and share feedback. Some of this collaboration should be intentionally structured and facilitated to enhance specific learning experiences. For example, small-group discussions could be a good opportunity for learners to begin the Prep to Implement phase.

Implement and Complete Written Reflection

This is where you give it a try. You publish, post, share, create. Crucially, it is important, to deepen your learning, to reflect on the experience. What went well? How would you do it differently next time?



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Geoff Decker

Geoff Decker

Curious storyteller, writer and reporter currently exploring journalism through teaching and learning.