Designing and Teaching Online Courses with Adult Students in Mind

Many of the learners in today’s online courses are adults who are returning to school to upgrade their qualifications. It’s worth considering what kinds of adult students are in your courses and what their needs are.

Some of the adults in your courses may be people who have lost jobs due to the recession and need to upgrade their skills. Others may be people who started degrees and never finished them but want or need to now. Others may want to change careers. There are as many reasons for adults seeking online degrees as there are adults seeking them. And understanding their needs puts you in a better position to tailor your strategies and help returning adults be as successful as possible.

Learner analysis
When designing training courses for organizations, one of the things instructional designers (like me) do to make sure the training fits the needs of the intended audience is an audience analysis. Some of the questions instructional designers might ask during a learner analysis for an online course include:

  • Who are the intended learners for this course?
  • What demographics should we be aware of?
  • Why are learners taking this course?
  • What do they already know about this topic?
  • What topics will be most difficult, and what extra support will they need?
  • What expectations will learners have?
  • What resources do learners need and have?
  • What experience do they have using course tools and technologies?
  • What is their level of computer literacy?
  • How fast an Internet connection do learners have?
  • What computer support will they need?


Read more @

Comments are closed.