Moving online: A best practice approach to achieving a quality learning experience for online education

Sue Whale, Naomi McGrath, Tim Cluley, Llara McClenaghan and Alana Blackburn
University of New England

Armidale, Australia

This paper describes an innovative approach to managing the development, presentation and delivery of online learning materials. This process couples learning design, technical support and content delivery in a partnership between educational development and academic staff to ensure quality outcomes for students in distance education studies.

A learner analysis and content analyses informed the development of this approach and a templated guide was created to provide an outline required for all unit development. This ensures that students are provided with the information and resources needed for completing their studies successfully, and that their experience is enhanced by reducing the need to search for the key information they require each time they commence a new unit in their studies. The consistency in learning resources means that information about the unit of study, assessment and learning outcomes, for example, are always present and are provided in the same location across all units, thus reducing the cognitive stress students report in navigating educational materials. Technical assistance provided in this managed process ensures timely solutions are implemented in online sites and academic staff time spent on technological issues is minimized.

A quality learning experience for students is achieved through the partnership the educational development and communications team have established with academic staff to prepare materials and provide technical support, along with pedagogical advice on the management of learning activities in the learning management system (LMS).