Enhance your instructor led classes with self paced courses. There is a reason why self paced courses are trending upwards!
Self paced learning is one of the more recognizable trends in online learning. From MOOC’s to your favorite online tools offering online academies, self paced learning is everywhere. The appeal of self paced learning is in its limitless scalability, flexibility and access.
As an instructor, self paced courses can allow you to reach more learners without worrying about scheduling. They allow your hard work to work for you. You have invested your time and energy not only in creating course content, but on your presentation of said course content. Creating self paced courses breathes second (third, fourth…) life into your course content.
Exciting as that is there are some pitfalls to self learning which I discussed in my blogpost Isolation: A Barrier of Virtual Distance Learning. Complimenting your live, synchronous classes with a structured self paced course helps deliver more effective learning experiences.
1. Live Classes For Discussions Not Just Lectures
Providing valuable course content ahead of time with self paced courses enables your learners to prepare for your live class resulting in greater engagement and more successful outcomes.
Why not take advantage of the face-to-face time you have with your learners by interacting with them rather than delivering a one-to-many lecture? That’s not to say lectures or webinars are not valuable (they absolutely can be!), but opening up your live class to discussions is a great way to engage your learners.
Delivering an engaging live class — creating and organizing content to share and bringing large groups of learners together at one time — is a lot of work. It is even more difficult when attempting to open a dialogue with your learners on a topic they are unfamiliar with.
Creating a structured self paced course that prepares your learners for each live class is a great way to convert a passive learning experience to an active one. Each live class becomes a forum reserved for discussions that dig into the details, question & answer sessions that are both instructor-to-learner as well as learner-to-learner, and workshops to carry out the practical applications of your course.
2. For Further Consideration / A Way To Catch Up
No matter how good of an instructor you are or how interesting a live class is ideas, concepts, facts & figures are bound to get lost and forgotten in the fold. Create a self paced course to allow your learners to continue their learning after the live class.
You can record each live class to archive them. After the class, go to the self paced course and add a chapter with a name relevant to your recent live class. Within that chapter add relevant files such as the presentations, videos and other content you shared in the live class as well as the class recording itself.
By creating these follow-up lessons in the self paced course, your learners are able to continue to learn on their own time by reviewing the valuable course content you share. You can even enable the files you share to be downloaded so that your learners can access specific course content offline.
These self paced courses also provide opportunities for those that missed the live class to catch up. Instead of having to email you or their peers for notes on what they missed, they will have the course content as well as the class recording available for their review.
3. Learning Beyond The Class
Time is short so your live classes have to sometimes skim over certain topics leaving some learners interested in knowing more but on their own in terms of exploring those topics further. Utilize self paced courses as a tool to enhance your lessons beyond the syllabus.
As an instructor, you have probably experienced a class discussion or two moving a little bit beyond what you have time to cover. Considering this you are then forced to stop the thread from unwinding too far and redirecting the class back to the topic at hand. Often this means that learners interested in exploring those topics further have only their own determination to lead the way.
With self paced courses you can pick up on the hints of interest expressed in live classes and provide some direction on further learning. You can share course content that you had to cut down on in full to provide enhanced on demand learning opportunities.