Why Online Students Succeed

Creating an environment in an online course that promotes student success can be difficult. Online learning is still a new medium despite the push for more online options worldwide. Finding the perfect formula is a continuous work in progress, as in the face-to-face classroom. Face-to-face education has been occurring for thousands of years and it continues to be reinvented. 

Eduventures is an organization that provides recommendations on new trends in higher education based upon research. They recently published an article, Why Online Students Succeed. From a survey of 28,000 students, the article points to high performing students citing clear course objectives and expectations as vital to their success. Low-performing students citied course speed as too fast to keep pace.

These two findings ring very true. Online students, like all students, crave direction.

In a face-to-face course, instructors are constantly lending direction to important topics and assignments. This direction can be easily lost in an online course unless it is planned from the beginning. Learning objectives should guide course development, online or face-to-face. An instructor should start course design by mapping out what they hope students will learn in the course and then build all content, assessments, and interaction to meet these objectives. Clear linking of all course materials and activities back to these objectives for students will allow for clear pathways of learning and direction. When in doubt, provide more linking and direction.

The second finding is very characteristic of the perception instructional designers have witnessed surrounding online learning. Many students come to online courses because they believe online learning will be easier. In reality, online learning can be more difficult. Content, assessments, and interaction come more quickly online and occur at all hours of the day. Students as well as instructors need to create a schedule to complete online course work, just like a face-to-face course has scheduled class time. Time must be set aside or the amount of content will be overwhelming.

The keys to student success vary from course to course depending on the type of content presented, the students in a course, and the instructor. However, certain truths transcend the medium. Clear objectives and instructions that provide guidance for every class activity are crucial.

ODEE instructional designers are committed to assisting instructors in creating a quality and engaging online course. To schedule a complimentary consultation, email our instructional design team