WikiEdProfessional eLearning Guidebook/Online-learning course development models/Models of course development

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Online-learning environments with their dependence on technology are very different, in several important ways from conventional educational settings. In conventional educational settings much of the responsibility for teaching and learning is in the hands of the teacher who is also the subject matter expert. In online-learning environments, the teacher who may also be the subject matter expert is no longer in complete control of all the activities. The technology for instance is usually managed and serviced by someone else. Someone else may also manage the content that is delivered by the technology, even though the teacher in charge may have developed it.

Many of the online-learning environments are the result of a team effort, which brings together a wide range of expertise including subject matter experts, learning management system and web developers, graphic artists, and systems engineers to produce a course. This team approach to course development has been widely used especially by distance education institutions. Nevertheless, there are less collaborative approaches as well, in which a single subject matter expert might be able to do everything, or do it with minimal and occasional help.

The choice of a particular approach to the development of an online-learning course is based on several factors including the academic tradition and resources available to the organization. Institutions that are dedicated to online and distance education have tended to adopt a more collaborative course team approach. Conventional campus-based educational providers, on the other hand have tended to adopt a lesser collaborative approach. In any event, the development of an online-learning course comprises a new experience for many. It calls for new skills such as in e-moderation and some de-skilling as well (i.e., shedding off of old lecturing habits). Old habits die hard, and when faced with circumstances that render some of one’s previous experience “irrelevant” there is quite a lot of uneasiness, loss of confidence, disillusionment, hostility, and at times withdrawal from the activity altogether.

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* Reflect upon the “team approach” to course development. What does it entail?

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Tell us a story

* Relate a story or incidence when the “team approach” worked well, and one in which it did not work so well?