10 best practices for elearning

1) Be present at the course site. Have a welcome video and post including an outline of the course. Be available throughout the course and ‘seen’ on the site – announcements, posts etc.

2) Create a supportive online course community. Have an icebreaker e.g. Lineup (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011, p. 56). Provide opportunities for students to collaborate e.g discussion forums, group projects.

3) Develop a set of explicit expectations for your learners. Make objectives of course and expectations clear e.g. guidelines for assignment submission, time expected to be spent learning on the course.

4) Use a variety of large group, small group, and individual work activities. E.g. case studies on handling difficult patients- the first few can be team activities.

5) Use a mix of synchronous/real time and asynchronous/any time activities. E.g. for bookkeeping can have a synchronous activity like a virtual live classroom, for job preparation can do an interview practice via Skype, or can have a guest speaker live.

6) Ask for informal feedback early in the course. What is going well? What is not?

7) Prepare discussion posts that invite responses, questions, discussions, and reflections. Example a forum on good customer services in medical offices – can ask students to think about their best and worst experiences in a medical office.

8) Search out and use content resources that are available in digital format. Videos, web links, articles, images, these can all be made available to students. Students can be asked to add to a resource section.

9) Combine core concept learning with customized and personalized learning. Making thinking visible shows what students know. Can use discussion forums, blogging, journals, wikis, podcasts etc. E.g. a group or paired wiki on four medical tests.

10) Plan a good closing and wrap activity e.g. students can do presentations summarising the course and post to a forum. Boettcher & Conrad states that end of course is a good time for synchronous activity so can use a live classroom.

(Boettcher & Conrad, 2010, p. 37)


Boettcher, J. V. and Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Conrad, R. and Donaldson, J. (2011). Engaging the Online Learner. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


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