The skills you need to create an online course

Skills required to create an online course

Before looking at skills required to create online learning, let’s look at what we mean by an online course. At one end of the spectrum, you’ve got the digital download for a text book and at the other you’ve got Minecraft and let’s face it, some of the claims made by online learning providers are quite simply marketing hype.

What is an online course?

It all comes down to your starting point. If you’re a tech enthusiast, you’ll want to amaze people with your clever tech, if you’re a graphic artist or animator, you’ll want your product to have the wow factor, if you’re a teacher, you should be asking yourself two questions at the beginning:

  • What am I trying to get all my students to learn in the next 30 minutes?
  • How can I achieve that without them switching off, getting bored and reaching for their mobile phones?
    And one question at the end:
  • Did that work for everyone?’

The best online learning of course has all of the teaching, technology and graphic design experts working closely together but the starting point must be the learning outcomes.

There are several other key considerations involved in online learning development:

Are you aiming to impart a certain body of information like Covid prevention or are you trying to teach skills – a language perhaps?

Are you aiming to keep students engaged for an hour or two or are you trying to teach a whole syllabus?

The current pandemic has put teachers in an impossible position in relation to online learning. Developing successful online courses requires instructional design experts, various creative skills and a team of software developers.

This article highlights the expert skills required to create an online course.

  1. Online Course Designers
  2. Development Teams
  3. Support Teams

In practice, the team extends beyond these three key areas of expertise because, on completion, Klik2learn courses go through an extensive process of accreditation from independent awarding bodies to ensure quality. However, for the purposes of this article we’ll focus on the core skills of design, develop and support.

1. Who designs online courses?

We’ve adapted the TPACK framework in Diagram 1 below to highlight the skills and knowledge required in the core course design team.

At Klik2learn our core course design team includes a number of experts who collaborate on every digital course we create. Think of them as the architects who use their expertise and experience to create the vision, concept and design of the course before handing it over to the builders, the development team.

Diagram 1 – Design Team

Core design team for online course development

Subject Matter Experts

Teachers and tutors, the subject matter experts, have a deep understanding of the course content. Klik2learn’s team has subject matter experts for English Language learning and we also work with subject matter experts in other disciplines.

Learning Experts

Experts in learning theories and teaching practice, our learning experts understand pedagogy: how people learn and what methodologies can be used.

Instructional Designers

Experts in applying technology to pedagogy, our instructional designers understand how to apply best teaching practice to an online environment and push the boundaries of the technology to drive better learning outcomes. This includes gamification and adaptive learning as well as new technologies such as AI, speech recognition and 3D simulations.

These experts are at the heart of Klik2learn online course design team. They are responsible for setting student learning outcomes, selecting teaching methods (pedagogy) for online environments and digitising course content to increase engagement and embed learning.

2. Who develops digital courses?

Educationalists are often unaware of the skills required to develop a digital course for online learning. At Klik2learn we split our experts into two categories;

  1. Creative Designers
  2. Software Developers

These specialist skills work in tandem with the core design team. See Diagram 2 below to see the skills required to develop an online course at Klik2learn.

Diagram 2 – Development Team

online learning design development team

A fully functioning, tested and accredited digital course is supported by a wider team of creatives and software developers with specialist skills such as User Interface designers illustrators, animators voiceover artists, game developers, speech recognition programmers AI developers, simulation developers and student experience experts (SX).

Creative Experts

Vital to the creation of an interactive online course, are the creative experts whose concept design defines the whole look and feel of every screen. Within each course there are hundreds of activities requiring the skills of our in-house designers, animators and graphic artists. Our creative team covers a wide range of skills from animations to comic strips.

For the listening and voice element of our courses, critical for English Language listening skills, we work with trained actors from the Royal Conservatoire. This allows us to cover multiple English varieties including Indian, Nigerian, Australian and American.

Software Developers

Building a cross-platform digital course with adaptive design for access on any device requires a talented software development team. The skill set includes; development, integration, testing and security.

Klik2learn’s in-house specialists have tackled not just interactive course activities but have built a complete Learning Management System with progress tracking and a reporting dashboard, a user registration system with different user roles and a variety of collaborative applications for tutors and students to engage with each other: chat, meeting scheduler, audio recorder, and shared notebook.

So having thought about your learning outcomes, your students, your core course design team, not to mention the creative team, graphic artists and software developers you need, what’s next?

3. Who supports online courses?

Every college, school, language centre and commercial organisations is supported to ensure successful adoption of our online courses.

Diagram 3 below shows the support wrap; training, product support, data analysis and project management.

Diagram 3 – Support Team

Training & Adoption Specialist

Training and user onboarding means tutors and students have the best possible experience. Focusing on the training for tutors, allows the organisation to maximise all the features of the Digital Learning Hub such as Notes for writing skills, Voice Recorder for speaking skills and Chat for collaboration with students.

Customer Support

Our customer support team ensures that any issues, bugs or problems are dealt with swiftly. Klik2learn updates its features and content on a regular basis and the customer support team is often a key channel for tutors and students to request new features and requests.

Project Management

As well as providing out of the box digital courses for English Language learners, Klik2learn creates new courses from scratch requested by different departments. Every new course includes project management to ensure client goals are met.

Data Analyst

A good digital course will provide your students and tutors with reports on how they are progressing online. This data can be used by tutors to improve students learning outcomes. Klik2learn’s Digital Learning Hub includes full reporting capabilities by student, group and organisation. Every student, tutor and moderator has their own reporting dashboard within the Hub where they can see their progress by course in easy to understand charts and league tables.

Klik2learn’s approach to course development

At Klik2learn, our instructional designers don’t just put the learner at the centre of the design process, we do the same for the teacher by building in the tools they need to do their job. We help them get to grips with the syllabus, show them how to use the collaboration tools, and give them quick and easy access to the data they need on a reporting dashboard so they can see what’s actually going on.

If you would like to talk to Klik2learn about creating a digital course or digitising your existing courses please contact us here.