By Kelley Ross, Analyst
In a mature online market, “differentiation” is taking on new meaning. While differentiation through new program offerings and innovative technology is still feasible, Eduventures proposes that the coming years, will be defined more and more by quality of design and impactful online delivery.
Current quality assurance frameworks (such as Quality Matters) offer great initial design and delivery guidance for course or program development. Unfortunately, these frameworks fall short in the post-design needs facing online education, where ongoing assessment reigns supreme. As a result, program leaders, faculty members, and instructional designers are forced to be reactionary, making situational decisions based on an unclear, and perhaps undefined, standard of excellence.
The real question then becomes, is this reactionary practice sustainable? Eduventures argues, no.
Institutions with online courses or programs must move beyond initial quality rubrics towards a design and delivery rubric that’s more responsive to the needs and preferences of adult learners.
As new technologies and creative approaches to online pedagogy rapidly evolve, online programs need a post-development strategy for continuous quality improvement informed, in part, by best practice in online pedagogy.
Here are few thoughts and questions to consider when thinking about your post-development strategy:
Evaluation and assessment needs to start with design…
- Does each course align with current trends in instructional design and effectiveness?
- Do the learning objectives across courses move learners from foundational to more complex and applied outcomes?
- Are learning environments clear, crisp, and engaging?
- What procedures are in place to ensure overall effectiveness in content presentation, tone, usability, and multimedia?
- Does the course make full and effective use of technology to drive student success?
…But it should not ignore delivery.
- Do courses incorporate effective approaches to engaging adult learners?
- Are platforms, collaborative tools, and content resources accessible and intuitive?
- Is the discussion board leveraged as a place for ongoing (and mutual) interaction between faculty and students?
- Does the course foster 21st century learning skills and real world application of concepts and ideas?
- Does assessment feedback clearly articulate performance and strive to inspire learners to greater achievement?
- Does the instructor effectively navigate around unnecessary tangents to guide students to higher application of course concepts?
Remember, a post-design assessment should act as an extension of the quality assurance rubrics that you currently utilize and provide an opportunity for continuous improvement to generate a more usable, and marketable, online product.