The possibilities are almost endless for improving your course design. If you’re starting from scratch, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to use the many tools available and how to start creating your content in the most applicable way, with the goal to improve insight into valuable areas such as user engagement.

Here are a few tips for improving course design:

Make it digestible

Make the content manageable. Break it up into ‘chunks’ that are easy for the learner to digest, ask questions like?

  • Does the learner spend more time, or less time, as they progress through the course?
  • Which resources are students engaging with most?
  • Which resources are students engaging with least?
Allow learners to self regulate

Provide early feedback so learners can make corrections and improve their self-regulation. It’s incredibly valuable for learners to get feedback in the form of assessments and instructor comments throughout the course. Good feedback should:

  • Help clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, standards)
  • Provide quality information to learners about their learning
  • Encourage positive motivation
  • Provide opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance

What kinds of feedback work best for online learning?

  • Peer feedback
  • Auto-scoring assignments
  • Written comments on an assignment
  • Oral comments in discussion groups
  • Self-checks
24/7 Grade Access

Simply making grade or scoring information accessible in real time can significantly help participants to learn better. Consider providing a progress bar that allows learners to see where they are—like a “You are here” pin on a map. This should be present throughout. As their scores or grades change,as they complete more course requirements, the indicator can change to reflect their progress and achievement. You can also consider the use of gamification to reward user engagement in the overall course.

If you would like to know more about effective course design and set up, contact one of our expert team on +44 (0) 28 9042 2000 or email

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