Course Tour: Learning Modules

Learning modules are one of the fundamental building blocks of online courses, but how do you go about taking them from an idea in your course map to actual lessons in your digital classroom? And what would they look like when you do?


To develop my learning outcomes, I rely heavily on my course map as my guide. Here's how I do it:

  1. Outline my learning outcomes.

  2. Determine the corresponding content.

  3. Determine my Time-on-Task for each item.

  4. Divide the content into a macrostructure (typically weeks).

  5. Subdivide the weekly content into chunks (learning modules).

The end result is that I have learning modules that are topic-driven, diverse, and engaging. To help us conceptualize what a learning module could look like, I'd like to take you on a quick tour of my digital classroom. You'll be able to see learning modules in context and help you to start thinking about how you might create your own. Let's go:

As you can see in my course, I have some unique things happening:

  1. I have content that doesn't fit neatly into a specific span of time (e.g. a week). So, I have to divide the content and cover it over a few weeks. The way I deliver that information is determined by the structure of my course. In this case, it's chronological. Your course may be developmental, topical, or chronological, and you will need to divide based on what makes sense for your course.

  2. I have a variety of engagement activities happening in one week / one module. There are active learning activities, guiding questions, discussion boards, and assignments. But I didn't start there. I started with the content and then went back and thought about where I wanted/needed students to engage. So, think about the content first and then design engagement. 

  3. I have a variety of materials happening in one week / one module. Students have text, video, graphic, and audio information. They're assigned readings, podcasts, and videos. This variety helps me to engage different learners and build skill-sets across media.

Creating learning modules will help you to keep your content organized, manageable, and engaging.

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