Now students have access to a vast amount of content. This mass is trying to attract people's attention, turning into a continuous information noise. At the same time, hybrid and remote work formats only compound the problem of information perception because there are many other tasks - work chats, calls, and work in a virtual environment. As a result, employees get tired. And many companies have dedicated "Zoom-free days" to get rid of burnout.
Some workers are slowly returning to their offices, but they continue to study online. According to the data provided by LinkedIn, about 79% of specialists are determined to continue their studies at home. Therefore, we can say that e-courses will firmly enter into all spheres of human life.
In the context of the ubiquitous information noise, it is essential to balance dozens of online lessons and a break from loads of content. As a result, more and more people are turning to asynchronous learning. It means watching classes at any suitable time and not attending a live broadcast.
What does this mean for future students, and how can you create a valuable and exciting online course program? Everything is much simpler than it seems. It is enough to turn to traditional practices focused on the student and the final result.
Decided to create an asynchronous learning course but don't know how to get the most out of it? Then, you will find helpful tips for designing an effective curriculum. Here are our top tips!
Offer Really Valuable Knowledge
During the pandemic, people did not spend much time on an in-depth analysis of the target audience and just published content. The reason is simple: it was the mass transition of students and employees to a remote format. At the same time, it was vital to remain attractive to the audience.
It's the right strategy in a deep crisis. However, the current situation is far from being critical when it is necessary to save the educational business at all costs. So now you can stop, relax and think about how to cover the needs and desires of potential students.
In this case, qualitative research is essential. You should answer three questions:
- How to create valuable content?
- How to upload lessons on time?
- How to ensure an individual approach to students?
Audience analysis should be as simple as possible. First, it's worth collecting the opinion of potential students through a particular landing page or online form. The answers you receive will help you identify priorities and shape your USP. To do this, you can use the WIIFM (what does this mean for me) method. It helps to edit existing content or even create it from scratch.
Structure Your Learning Content
Now let's talk a little about the organization. It affects the effectiveness of asynchronous learning as much as the content itself. First, it's necessary to create a clear structure of lessons. Therefore, students will be able to acquire new knowledge and master skills as simple as possible. Answer two questions:
Create a Step by Step Learning Plan
Every activity needs a plan. Ensure that you divide all learning materials into separate topics and modules. Build a learning plan gradually, like a Lego constructor. It will make it easier for the students and you as the course creator.
Add an Introductory Lesson
If you are creating an e-course for beginners, they need to go deeper into the essence of the new topic. Therefore, add an introductory lesson (or several) so that students can better understand new concepts before diving into the details.
Test Students' Knowledge After the Introductory Lesson
Make sure students spend enough time getting new information by adding a quiz or test after the introductory lesson. If most students have successfully passed the knowledge test, you can proceed to the main course.
Create a Unique Learning Experience for Your Students
With synchronous learning, it is simple to check the motivation and involvement of students. However, it's much more complicated with an asynchronous approach because you don't see your audience through Zoom or an educational platform. So how do you keep students' attention?
There is an answer: start by getting to know your students. Organize a Meet & Greet online session and learn more about their knowledge, skills, and personal preferences.
You need to look at the situation from a different angle. Of course, the owners of online schools can tell more about what the audience needs and how to interest them. However, no one knows better about the students' preferences than the students themselves. Maybe they expect a playful approach to learning or interesting tests.
First of all, remember to test your educational product. The creators of e-courses rely on the world practices of design thinking and involve students in the curriculum development process. This approach will help you create an exciting course based on all the students' needs and preferences.
Break the E-course Into Separate Modules
Not every student can concentrate for 60 or even 90 minutes. There are many reasons for such an attitude: from a busy work schedule to spending time on social networks. And if traditional education can't help people concentrate, what can we say about the online format?
It is much better to break the course into separate modules. Each lesson should be between 5 and 20 minutes long, depending on the overall length of the module. This duration of the e-course has two essential advantages:
- First, knowledge is acquired much easier if it's divided into different parts.
- Students can take the lesson at any convenient time.
Moreover, you should add the ability to continue the passage from where the student stopped the last time. You may do it on the roadmap (roadmap) or the progress bar. Then, students can find the lesson they need, and the educational platform will automatically open the place where the video stopped.
Guide Your Students in the Right Direction
Asynchronous learning has many nuances, and the most important of them is that students complete the course without outside help. Therefore, developers of eLearning courses must do everything possible so that users can navigate.
You can implement this in many ways, from a list of lessons to a full-fledged roadmap. It will allow students not to get lost and understand where they are in the learning process.
For more complex strategies, including blended learning, online education experts recommend hosting an online Zoom meeting. Therefore, you may tell more about the course objectives and answer students' questions.
You can also record informational videos that relate to course navigation and link them to specific places in the curriculum. With their help, students will be able to find the right content and increase the effectiveness of asynchronous learning.
Another good idea is to add the ability to adapt the program to a specific student. It will speed up the completion of the course for those who already know a particular module. Others, in turn, will be able to study the topic better. Moreover, educational platforms have all the necessary tools to create content that adapts to the needs of students.
Appoint Someone Responsible for Monitoring Online Learning
As we have already said, the asynchronous learning course takes place without live classes with the teacher. However, having a curator can significantly improve audience engagement. This person doesn't always have to take an active part in learning. But, at the same time, they need to maintain communication with students and do everything to ensure that they interact more actively with the learning platform. The facilitator also acts as support if students encounter difficulties and need help.
If curators participate in the learning process, their task is to conduct online discussions. Further, they moderate the session and ask leading questions that involve students in the process.
Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Approach
Any eLearning course should benefit everyone, especially when talking about asynchronous learning. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a system for evaluating the effectiveness of the chosen strategy based on the desired results and the primary level of students' knowledge.
The assessment of the experience of asynchronous learning on an online platform occurs at three levels:
- Reaction (How do students feel about online learning? How relevant is it for them? What benefits does asynchronous learning bring? Will students invite friends and acquaintances?).
- Knowledge (What did students learn during the course, and what knowledge became new for them.)
- Behavior (what result did the students achieve, and how do they apply new knowledge and skills in practice.)
To assess the level of response, they usually use an online questionnaire or contact the student directly. However, for more accurate and unique data (such as which topics were the most difficult), you should consider connecting the Experience API tools to an online course.
Now let's move on to methods of assessing knowledge. Many of them are already known (quizzes, tests, control tasks, etc.). However, in the case of asynchronous learning, it is necessary to evaluate the understanding of information. After all, the curator will not always be in touch. Therefore, experts advise implementing tests after those topics that may cause difficulties. It will allow you to understand what problems students face and improve the learning experience.
As for the behavior assessment, it's impossible to do this on the educational platform. Therefore, evaluation of this level is possible only in the workplace.
But there is one thing that doesn't depend on the chosen assessment method: the need to provide up-to-date knowledge. You need to bring learning as close to real life as possible. So students will be able to go deeper into the subject being studied and learn what they need to get a dream job. It's where gamification comes into play. Game mechanics allow you to put yourself in the chosen industry model and actual business processes.
Let's sum it all up. Asynchronous learning has many advantages and disadvantages. If you want to create a vibrant and practical experience for your students, make sure you connect to your learning materials and the whole eLearning industry. The best practices of design thinking and our tips will help you with this. Use them to get students involved in the eLearning process as much as possible and motivate them to learn something new. As a result, you will get a satisfied audience and the most effective asynchronous learning course.
We hope that you found this article helpful. If you have any questions regarding asynchronous learning, leave them in the comments section below. We will answer them, and the most interesting ones will become the topics of our new articles!