September 17th, 2013 Course Creation

Today there are a countless number of tips and tricks when it comes to effective online course design, that it can become confusing where to start.  These theories can range from actionable steps to philosophical diatribes, both of which provide their use, but equally are confusing as to where to begin.

Enter the “Guide to Online Course Design” infographic by MindFlash.

This infographic outlines some of the key components to creating an online course.  Naturally, not every item is an absolute necessary (many of which will depend on your needs), but they all do provide value for your online courses.

More than ever, it is important that you encourage online interaction and feedback mechanisms for the students in the online courses.  Some platforms make this easier than others, so make sure you do ample research as you select the best one for your situation.

With the “bones” (software) in place, you can then begin the fun part: finding content for your course.  As this inforgraphic details, there are a large range of tools available at your disposal, such as:

  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Group Pages (Google)
  • Discussion Boards
  • Vimeo
  • YouTube
  • PowerPoint Presentations
  • Wikis
  • Internet Libraries

Depending on the content being taught, you can certainly find a medium that is best suited for your needs. In fact, it seems like every day there are new tools emerging to make the sharing of information easier and more user-friendly.

Student interaction is also a key component to the success of your online program.  Encourage your users to leave comments on the material, upload assignments, join a discussion forum on the site to share ideas, or even to debate a topic. Why not implement some form of gamification while you’re at it?

Beyond the bells and whistles, you will want to make sure that you make the course accessible to all students through its design.  The user experience should be clean, intuitive, and consistent.

Check out the infographic below for tips on how to start an online program.


Justin Ferriman photo

About Justin Ferriman

Justin started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide. He is currently founder & CEO of GapScout. Justin's Homepage | GapScout | Twitter


8 responses

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Well-written and designed, Justin. As a long-term teacher with the past 12 years online in a variety of roles, I am most recently involved in course construction as I complete a long overdue Master’s degree in Online Teaching and Learning and I enjoy the challenge and process as it calls my artistic and educational talents into play. What an amazing journey we are all on as we only begin to see the positive power of online learning. Thank you and I will share your information forward through my networks.

Avatar Maryalice Leister

Nice graphic. It also mimics the rubric developed years ago by Maryland Online and partners, and shown in Quality Matters (quality

Avatar Candice Kramer

When I saw what you called this Infographic, I guess I expected something different. I guess I expected it from all avenues, including corporate online courses. This seems more to be for the college world. For my corporate online courses we never include a syllabus. That would be a waste of our learners’ time. Also, some online courses are for individual learning where there may not need the interaction parts. (especially for the smaller corporations or for customer online training). For our online software training courses, we don’t use a lot of “tests” or “quizzes” either because our customers just want to learn our software. Instead we use interactive simulations that help students learn our software.

Avatar Tracey Stokely

Tracey is on to something about differences between designing for academic courses and corporate training just as there are clear differences between learning software systems (job-related tasks) and professional development (soft skills). Course syllabus is transferable to tutorial agenda whereas online courses should allow links to specific chapters/areas in the course. After all, who wants to click through several slides to get to what you really need to learn for a specific task? Overall, the infographic provides a high level path to creating and inviting interaction. I’m thinking Tracey is referring to short demo clips for learning specific tasks in a software system, such as how to enter an employee’s vacation and sick hours for a month in a HR system, such as PeopleSoft. This type of training may not require a full course so to speak, but rather a demo clip of how to navigate, what to enter, when to enter, how to enter, how to confirm data entry, reports of data entry, etc.

Avatar Susan Edwards

Congratulations for sharing details about designing online course in such a concise manner. Its very well presented .I am a teaching faculty at the M.S university of Baroda,Vadodara,india.Recently the Ministry Of HRD,Higher education deptt had a NMEICT scheme under which the teachers were given finance to develop online courses for higher education students. Under the scheme I designed two e-courses offered at UG level to students of extension and communication department. the website address is have tried to incorporate all 4 quadrants of ecourse designing but due to limited budget animations are not included. Ma i request you to review this econtent and give me your valuable suggestions for making it a quality material for higher education students.

Hi Dr. Avani-
Thanks for the note and for sharing your site – if you are interested in some formal reviews/feedback/tips/strategies, go ahead and submit an inquiry here.

Nice Job Justin…

Do you mind featuring this in an Inkling text I’m putting together on instructional design for teachers? if, so i can send additional details.

Michael J. Fimian

Hi Michael-

Thank you for the comment. You can certainly use the infographic, just be sure to give the original author ( proper credit.

Comments are closed.

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