Proven Online Course Framework

While every course has its own unique content and audience, there are frameworks that remain the same across all elearning courses that are created (at least the good ones).

The infographic below, created by SHIFT ELearning, displays one framework you could potentially use when creating your courses. Just know that this should be a starting place. Each one of these areas could be sub-divided further and go in multiple different directions. Still, it’s a good place to start, especially if you are just beginning in the instructional design field.

One of the most important aspects in this framework that often goes overlooked are the bookends – or, the evaluations. Having a pre-training evaluation is critical to knowing how effective your course is at delivering upon the learning objectives. Creating effective evaluations is an art in itself, so for a little more information check out this article.

The blue boxes in the middle represent how the content is delivered and the variety of ways learners should interact with the content. If you just focus on one of these boxes, then your course will probably be pretty ineffective.

Instead, try to get a good balance across all the areas, or at least have each area represented in some fashion where possible, particularly the application piece. Too often elearning modules will just deliver content but never give the learner the opportunity to apply (in a safe environment) the content they just learned. Simulations are a fantastic way to create this safe “test” environment.

Again, this is an arguably oversimplified framework for instructional design, but it still is useful if you are trying to figure a general set-up for your course material.


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Twitter | LinkedIn

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