Lesson DLSO: Guidelines for creating an online course (for organizations who want to build their own)

  1. Define the competencies you want your learners to achieve. Build your lessons around these learning targets so all your efforts are put to good use. If a lesson doesn’t address a competency of the course, it should not be developed and included.


  1. Keep the scope of the course and of each lesson manageable – define the workload parameters and stick with it. Some creators of online courses make the mistake of covering too much.


  1. Build in helpful features for your learners: begin with the lesson’s objective (what you expect the student to learn in this lesson) and an overview of what’s to be covered. Cover the lesson clearly. End with a review of the main points. These all help the learner retain what it is you want them to learn.


  1. Write lessons in the clearest prose you can write. It’s always a good idea to get someone else to read what you’ve written to make sure you’re coming across clearly.


  1. Add additional textual features as needed – provide headings for the parts of a lesson, bold face important terms, present bulleted lists of information


  1. Use a consistent format among the lessons. Online learners look for patterns to help their learning. Create a template, and follow it among all the lessons.


  1. Provide a variety of media when possible. This addresses the different learning styles of the online learners.


  1. Include resources and links to current examples that are easily accessed from learner’s computers.


  1. The quizzes (and any other form of assessment) must be directly related to the lesson you’ve presented. Be fair. Don’t make the quiz a game in reading the teacher’s mind. Answers must be readily derived from the lesson.


  1. Rule of Rules – It takes longer than you think. Most creators of online courses underestimate how long it will take them to develop online content. Budget your time for more time than you think you’ll need.


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