Recipe for Online Learning

CI 5325 Designing for Experiences, Tracy Thomas Wilson


Mix in as many of these as possible...

  • Purposeful pedagogy
  • Authentic problems
  • Learner-generated knowledge and artifacts, where possible
  • Inviting online environment
  • Allowance for learners to make the environment their own
  • Attention to the experience, not just the outcome
  • Room for creativity and especially for a few initial failures
  • Humor, consistency, authenticity, positivity, availability
  • Audio/Visual tools
  • Communication tools
  • Collaboration tools
  • Culture of mutual respect
  • Community building activities
  • Group projects
  • Clear expectations
  • Detailed personal feedback from instructor
  • Assessment
  • Course evaluation


Begin by asking, "why?" Start with clear expectations and an inviting, consistent CMS. Be present and supportive to learners, and make sure they know how to contact you and each other. Adjust your pedagogical recipe to fit your audience and your topic, and where possible, ask for learner input and provide choices. Allow the learners ways to contribute to the assignments and discussion topics.

Engage learners with authentic problems and connect content to real-world applications, where possible. Promote a culture of respect and inclusiveness and encourage community with ice-breakers and group activities. Provide scaffolding for unfamiliar technologies, and allow for failure and trying again. Let each module build on the previous one to help learners build confidence. Provide room for transformational learning.

Give regular detailed and personal feedback and be sure learners understand how they will be assessed. When they've all eaten, ask how they liked it. Adjust your recipe for next time.