While self-reflection is effective, having more concrete data and measurements is even more powerful in effective online course creation and design. This ensures accountability for the instructor and learner, honing in on specific goals of active (applied) rather than passive learning (memorizing definitions or concepts).
- Start with short assessments like quizzes after each lesson
The number of quiz questions ideally should range from 3-5 so that the learner can answer them quickly and effectively. They should be modeled after the established learning outcomes at the beginning of the lesson.
The types of questions can range from multiple choice, fill in the blank, or a write in to test whether a learner mastered a specific lesson.
For example, if the outcome is to be able to be able to run a few database queries in a coding language like SQL, then your quiz should assess for that outcome.
Let’s look at an example:
By the end of the module, you will be able to:
- Perform a SQL query that combines multiple parameters
- Describe why SQL is an effective tool for queries and searches compared to Excel
Your assessment could be:
- Write one SQL query that demonstrates how you run a search across multiple parameters
- SQL is a more powerful tool than Excel for running queries because of its speed and database properties. (True/False)
The purpose of this quiz question holds the learner accountable to demonstrate one specific and actionable lesson. This also communicates to the instructor whether the student has mastered this lesson or needs more help in demonstrating this outcome.
- Mid-way course check-in
There should be a general assessment halfway through the course that is both formative and summative. Both are advantageous to collect qualitative and quantitative data about performance and instruction design.
Formative assessments that asks questions such as:
- What have you learned so far?
- What are you still challenged by?
- What aspects of the instruction can be improved?
Summative assessments are more specific on the lesson and tests the concepts taught up to the halfway point.
- End of course quiz
Throughout the course lessons, there were short quizzes to test student’s mastery of the material and applied lesson.
One example of this is expanding on the quiz questions outlined earlier to test lessons that were more challenging.
- Demonstrate an example of a JOIN + GroupBy query
- Perform a complex query that selects the total number from two databases.
The key to successful online courses rests in continuously examining your course design and lessons… Click To Tweet Collecting quantitative data is useful in course design and creation. It helps you look back to see if there were certain lessons that could have been designed better based on patterns and trends in student’s assessment results.
Students and instructors share the same goal of improving and learning from each other. And, a commitment to improving our course design and lessons for maximum engagement will accomplish that goal.