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Tips & Best Practices
Can I teach my topic online?
Consider these questions when determining whether your workshop could be a good fit for distance learners, or if it'd just work better face-to-face.
Teaching Online & Distance Learners
Best practices and tips for teaching in online/distance settings. While these mostly relate to teaching whole courses online, many of these guidelines can apply to leading continuing education/workshops as well!
During the instructional design process, you'll want to consider how people typically learn best when they're working online or through independent asynchronous lessons. This could be useful if you yourself are thinking of taking an online course, too!
If you're planning to give an online presentation or lead a webinar, it's best to prepare for it well ahead of time. These tips should help you think through what you need to do to make your session run as smoothly as possible.
Thinking of leading your workshop online? Consider the following as you start to plan and design.
More Instructional Design Blogs
The eLearning Coach
The eLearning Coach is an excellent resource for ideas, techniques, and emerging tools for both instructional designers and online teachers. If you're looking not only to stay abreast of developments in e-learning but also to know why those developments matter, keep an eye on this blog.
Instructional designers love to share their ideas with the world. Mouse over each link for more info.
Cathy Moore's Blog
Cathy Moore has helped develop training for a huge range of clients -- governmental and non-profit agencies, the military, big pharmaceutical and publishing companies, and more. She's got a ton of insight on how to liven up webinars, activities, role-playing sessions, and more.
Notes from Jane Bozarth's Bozarthzone, with ideas for creating and outsourcing inexpensive e-learning solutions, along with general thoughts about the training and development field.
Discovery Through e-Learning
Thoughts from Tracy Parish, an educational technology specialist who designed and now maintains the learning management system and training courses for a regional health center in Ontario.
The Rapid e-Learning Blog
Practical tips and techniques for developing successful e-learning resources -- including a good section on how to improve PowerPoint presentations for online audiences.
Information is Beautiful
This site is an at-times mindblowing exploration of how to present complex data in visually appealing, intuitive ways. Not explicitly instructional design-related, but a neat source of inspiration if you're not sure how to organize that flowchart for your presentation.
Search the MLS Professional Collection
Design: Key Questions
- Which content should you cover?
- How will you sequence and assess content?
- Which learning/teaching format will you use?
- Which instructional technologies will you use?
- How much time do you have?
- Will you be creating a one-off workshop or a series?
A free Google Drive application for slide presentations (as an alternative to PowerPoint).
Online presentation software that allows you to zoom in and out of your presentation.
A free tool that uses text messaging to get instant audience feedback during your workshop.
Quiz/polling software with real-time results that does not require your attendees to have their own devices. (Uses instructor's mobile device and scannable voting cards that you can print for free.)
Online collaboration tool
Guided Notes Fact Sheet
Guided notes are a type of handout that promote student engagement during a slide presentation.
Create Your Own Cephalonian Method Adventure: An Interactive Session
Learn more about this simple visual method for engaging workshop attendees.
More Instructional Design & E-Learning Tools
Moodle is a free learning management system / e-learning platform used by many schools and universities. Though there's a learning curve, it can be used to create robust courses and workshops with discussion boards, quizzes, and more.
LibGuides (free trial, low-cost subscription)
As you probably know, LibGuides are a fantastic instructional aid -- you can fill a guide up with a whole library of linked documents, videos, pictures, and widgets from other websites, like Pinterest and Twitter.
Twitter can be used alongside a webinar or conference call to help field questions from participants. Tweetups -- Twitter meetups -- are all the rage these days, turning a topic into a hashtag (e.g., #ebooks) and unifying people around a discussion of it.
SnagIt (free trial; pay per license)
SnagIt lets you easily edit and add text, demonstrative drawings, and more to computer screenshots. It can be used to make helpful additions to a slide-based presentation, or visual aids for step-by-step software training.
Solutions for Video Sharing & More
Vimeo (free; subscription costs for premium)
Vimeo is a website where users can upload and view new videos. Compared to YouTube, Vimeo has a community that tends to be more professional, and the layout is cleaner and less distracting (especially good for distance learners).
YouTube can be a good choice for some video uploaders, too -- there are some more versatile options for editing and enhancing your video with comments, background music, and more available for free.
Google Hangouts (free)
Hangouts are video chats that not only allow participants to interact "face to face," but also to share their screens -- helpful for collaborative work and training. You can even record your Hangouts and view or share them with others later via YouTube.
Screencast-O-Matic (free version available)
A screencasting program that helps you create and edit images and short videos quickly and easily.
Camtasia (pay per license; somewhat pricy)
Camtasia is used at tons of higher ed institutions to create professional-quality instructional videos. You can record on-screen activity, incorporate your other video files, quickly edit and enhance your content, and then share your videos right away.