Four keys to creating successful eLearning programs


“Understanding that really helps you choose your content,” he said.

Content can consist of core courses, electives, career and technical education, and more, and it can be created or licensed. Leaders should consider their staff expertise and the resources they already have in place if they want to build their own content.

Open educational resources (OER) are another potential content source, but Rapp cautioned that it often can take time for teachers and administrators to find and evaluate this content. (For more on efforts to organize OER, click here.)

Ensuring that content is aligned with the Common Core State Standards is important as well.

Teaching

“Regardless of the medium…the teacher is always the most important person—the person who has the most significant impact on the success of the student,” Rapp said, adding that a teacher’s importance is the same in online and blended learning as it is in a brick-and-mortar setting. “It’s important that we consider that a given in this process.”

Targeting teachers who are ready to jump into using the new set of tools that online learning requires is the best way to go, he said.

iNACOL’s National Standards for Quality Online Teaching can help organizers of online and blended learning programs get started, and these standards also can be modified for local use.

Program creators should consider a number of questions, including whether they will hire teachers or use existing teachers and how they will prepare those teachers, whether teachers will be full- or part-time, and whether there are any contractual issues to consider.

And all parties involved should “avoid the myth that any classroom teacher is qualified to teach online,” Rapp said. Many teachers are asked to teach online with little to no preparation or support.

Laura Ascione

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