The importance of effective and efficient custom course development cannot be overstated especially in creating awesome online courses. For online learning to be cost-efficient and results-effective, it must be learner-responsive. The online learners should enjoy the course and its individual subjects, master their contents, and exit the program armed with the appropriate knowledge and skills.
The following tips in custom course development are valuable for this purpose. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that these are general recommendations that require customisation to suit your unique case.
Start with Pedagogic Principles
Just as with creating non-online courses (i.e., classroom-based programs), the creation of effective and efficient online courses starts with the following steps:
- Set out the goals and objectives for the course.
- Set out the skills-related goals for the program, such as the development of quantitative skills or the improvement of writing skills among students.
- Choose the content that will achieve these goals.
- Develop the course plan.
Setting the pedagogic principles is the best foundation for effective custom course development since these principles will underline the practices.
Divide the Course into Three Parts
The best online courses are measured partly by how well these are patronised by the target market (i.e., student enrolment rates), thus, emphasising the importance of saleability. The most popular online courses are typically divided into three main parts, thus, allowing interested individuals to determine their merits before enrolment. The custom course development process should consider these three main parts and their desirable characteristics.
Be sure to make a good first impression for your online course through a persuasive introduction, both in text and graphics on your website’s homepage. Get your welcoming words right. Get your audience engaged from the first word. Get your readers to enrol in the course.
Your skills in effective custom course development will be tested during the development of the instruction part. This is the part that can make or break the interested individual’s decision to enrol in the course, especially where the acquisition of the relevant knowledge, skills and certification are concerned.
The instruction part should ideally have the following sub-parts:
- Course outline is the summary
- Faculty information provides the details about the instructors’ qualifications
- Required resources that summarise the required technical support, plugs ins, and texts, among others
- Academic requirements and grades
- Time commitment
- Community involvement including help section, discussion forums (e.g., chats, messages boards)
- Policies from enrolment to exit
For custom course development to be effective, the conclusion must provide for clear outcomes –achievements, credentials, and certifications that the students can acquire, for example. Be truthful about these matters as too much hype can result in an appearance of a scam.
Carefully Go Over the Contents from Start to Finish
You should always be vigilant about the contents of your online course, a useful tip applicable to custom course development for classroom-based programs, too. Always remember that your prospective students will judge the merit of the online course based on its contents – truly, yet another proof that content is king in the digital world.
Here are useful tips in polishing your online course’s contents.
- Stick your text to just a few talking points. Avoid cramming lengthy discussions about your course content because your readers will soon become bored. Use easy-to-read words instead of filling the pages with technical jargon.
- Use multimedia presentations. The Internet is an excellent medium for providing readers with multimedia presentations for greater mental stimulation. Combine images (e.g., graphics and photos) with text as well as videos and interactive materials (e.g., games and quizzes).
- Make the content relevant and entertaining to your audience. Avoid bombarding them with facts from all sides since these can quickly become boring.
- Ensure that your content has no grammatical, spelling and sentence structure errors, among others. Your readers will have an easier time believing that you are an authority on the subject matter.
- Work toward creating an online community during the custom course development phase. Incorporate blogs, message boards, and online chat facilities for students to become part of a digital campus.
Ultimately, the best thing that you can do during the custom course development phase is to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience.
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