Instructional Design Example for an Online Course
This eLearning course is designed to equip podcasters with the skills to troubleshoot recording problems and improve the sound quality of their podcasts.
I worked with Luke Hobson to design this online course. He is an instructional designer and program manager at MIT, and an instructor/coach through the Instructional Design Institute.
After discussing the project with Dr. Hobson, I decided to focus this eLearning course on one problem many podcasters face: noise.
From my own experience as a podcaster, I know there are different causes of noisy recordings and relatively easy ways to eliminate or minimize that noise.
When students finish this course, the most important measure of success will be their ability to actually produce better sounding audio.
After several iterations, I decided these three learning outcomes best fulfilled the overall goal.
- Diagnose the kinds of noise in an audio recording
- Explain how to fix different noise problems
- Improve your own recordings
In order to know if students are progressing toward those outcomes, I decided they should use an actual recording project throughout the course.
The students will analyze that recording project using what they learn about different kinds of noises and different methods of fixing audio problems. Those will be assessed along the way through formative, short answer quizzes.
The activities they will participate in during the course include listening to audio recordings, hearing the instructor explain the source and reason for the noise, reading materials from NPR Training, and recording and analyzing their own audio files.
The result of the backward design process was this course map.
Learning Management System
In order to get more experience using an LMS, I chose Canvas LMS for this project.
I have had prior experience using Blackboard when I was a teaching assistant as well as content management systems like WordPress.
Canvas LMS works on a laptop as well as a smartphone, which is useful for students who want to learn on the go.
The first lessons in module 1
The preview lesson sets the stage for what student will do during the course. The project lesson explains the most important part of the course.
Formative assessments along the way
Students play a video that explains a particular kind of noise problem (microphone, recorder, connection, room, or in this case, background sounds). Then they take a quiz to test their ability to detect the noise problems in the sample recordings.
Students assess their projects
After recording Project #1, students analyze it according to what they are learning about the different kinds of sounds. They determine what noises are affecting their recordings, make adjustments to their setup, and record Project #2.
After they analyze Project #2, they determine what else might improve their recording. Then they record Project #3 as their final exam, which is graded according to a rubric to assess the level of improvement they made compared to Project #1.