Path 1: How Online Learners Learn


We recommend starting in this pathway, which provides a high level overview on course design that supports how online learners learn.

Before diving into tools and building your course site, we briefly introduce you to key principles of online learning. The principles we cover are:

  • Building alignment
  • Social, Cognitive, and Instructor Elements in an online course
  • Simple and deep online course navigation,
  • Asynchronous and synchronous learning, and
  • Accessibility

After watching these videos, you can explore their principles in more detail by visiting the other Paths in this learning series.

Building Alignment and the Elements of an Online Course [5 min]

Learn about applying the practice of learning outcome alignment in the online environment and the importance of cognitive presence, teacher presence, and social presence.

Building alignment is an ongoing process throughout any course design or redesign. Use our Online Course Planning workbook to work on your course alignment.

Simple and Deep Online Course Site Design [4 min]

Learn about the evidence-based principles for a course design that allow students to spend more time learning content and skills and less time learning to navigate the course site.

Asynchronous Learning and Accessibility [3 min]

Learn about asynchronous (flexible in timing) and synchronous (live) learning online. Get a brief introduction to accessibility in the online learning environment.

View Path 2: Designing to Meet Course Learning Outcomes