A Conceptual Framework for the Design, Delivery, and Evaluation of Online Instruction

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In this education session presenters will introduce a framework for online instruction.  The participants will then engage with the framework and utilize it to develop ideas for improved facilitation and design practices, troubleshoot challenges faced in online learning, and evaluate the design and delivery of online courses. 


Dr. Leann M.R. Kaiser is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education, Adult Education and Training Specialization at Colorado State University. She graduated from the University of Wyoming with her Ph.D. in Adult and Post Secondary Education. She also holds a B.S. from the University of Wyoming and an M.S. from Arizona State University, both in outdoor education/recreation. Leann's research interests encompass distance student educational experiences, best practices for online facilitation, and learning transfer. Leann has taught in the fields of adult education and outdoor education at the post-secondary level since 2001. Additional professional experiences include work in natural resource education programming and public land management.
Dr. Kelly McKenna is an assistant professor in the Adult Education and Training Graduate Program in the School of Education at Colorado State University. She completed her Ph.D. in Educational Technology and earned a master’s degree in Education and Human Resource Studies with a specialization in Adult Education and Training. Dr. McKenna’s teaching experience includes face-to-face, hybrid, and online instruction. Her research interests lie in the field of adult education, with research objectives aimed to support adult learners in their educational and occupational endeavors by creating optimal learning environments and facilitating successful student experiences. She focuses on distance education with attention to technology enhanced teaching and learning and online learning communities.

Extended Abstract

Description – 

Online education has long been an option for students.  The number of classes and degrees offered partially or fully online has increased exponentially and in some cases it has even replaced face-to-face instruction.  However, for many educators it is a new delivery format that they are thrust into with little to no formal training.  In higher education professors are usually experts in their own content areas, not in online teaching and learning.  Adult educators (corporate trainers, professional medical educators, nonprofit leaders, etc.) are also experts in their field, but rarely have a background in instruction.    

As online learning expands, so do the resources available to help these facilitators design and deliver online instruction. But, sorting through this wealth of information can be intimidating, both for those new to online instruction, and for seasoned instructors looking for new ideas. To address this issue, the presenters created a framework for online facilitation synthesized from literature, resources, and their own research and experience. 

This framework has several potential uses including improving online facilitation and design, troubleshooting challenges, as the basis for teaching best practices to new online facilitators, and as an evaluation tool for online delivery. Seven major concepts related to online instruction were combined to create this conceptual framework for online education: Be organized, Build an online community, Be a real person, Effectively facilitate discussions, Go beyond discussions, Motivate learners, and Manage your time. The framework has several advantages in that it is research-based (utilizing knowledge synthesized from the depth of research in this field), flexible enough to apply to a wide variety of online learning settings (higher education, workplace training, asynchronous, synchronous, hybrid, etc.), and able to address design, delivery, and evaluation.  This framework is an important development for online education as it is a tool that can be used to maintain the strength, growth, and accessibility of our distance programs.

Format & Outcomes –

This presentation will be a 45 minute education session including a presentation of the framework, a discussion, participant interaction with the framework, and a Q & A.  The session is relevant to instructors who work with students online, instructional designers, administrators at universities or educational institutions that provide distance learning, scholars interested in online education, and human resource professionals engaged with distance training.  How the framework was developed and how it can be applied in practice will be the focus of this session. The presenters will begin by giving an overview of the online best practices framework. They will then demonstrate specific ways each of the seven techniques comprising the framework can be used for instructional improvement, evaluation, to train new online facilitators, and to address instructional challenges.  Participants will then engage with the framework applying it to their own online courses.  This framework which incorporates the breadth of online instruction best practices will be provided to education session participants for ease of use within their own online teaching environments when they return from the conference and are practicing in their home environment.

By the end of this session, participants will be able to use the framework to::

  • Apply practices to improve online course facilitation  
  • Design and create online courses that are optimal learning environments
  • Evaluate online course design and facilitation effectiveness
  • Increase online student satisfaction and success through engaging online practices