Injecting E-life Into Your Content: Lessons Learned While Creating An Online Teacher Training Program

Concurrent Session 7

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This presentation is both interactive and educational, as I poll the audience to show why taking your subject matter from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan affects the learning experience.  Our best practices will show how to inject life into your content with colour, audio/video, avatars and gamification.


Dr. Karen McCloskey is an Associate Professor at Lambton College and coordinates the Advanced Teaching: E-learning and Instructional Design Program in the International Education Department.

Extended Abstract

This presentation is based on lessons learned from creating a 5 course, fully online International Teacher Training Program for English Language Teaching Professionals at Lambton College in Canada. When I started the project, the content was there, but it needed some resuscitation.  Online learning is so much more than simply putting content on an LMS, it’s about creating a whole learning experience.  This session is dedicated to sharing the steps that we took to revive the learning experience for our learners so that you too can inject some e-life into your courses.

This session will be both interactive and educational as I quiz and poll the audience using their own device (phone, tablet etc) using Kahoot and Polleverywhere to make sure that we also inject life into the education session.  I will show our original slides with content and ask for input from the audience as we work together to establish the improvements we could make before demonstrating our best practices.

What sort of best practices will we discover?  We will touch on design for non-designers.  How does it affect the learner experience and what can the uninitiated do to make a huge impact?  We will look specifically at the effect of colour changes, and the addition of images and icons to replace text.  Tips on dealing with long text will also be examined.

We all know that a great instructor can make or break a course, but how do we get students to connect with the instructor in our online courses?  We will examine the use of video in conjunction with avatars to increase instructor presence.   I will demonstrate how we created our avatars and have the audience create their own as a takeaway to be able to include in their own course.

Being able to see the instructor and examples in videos will not only increase the connection to the professor, but enable us to appeal to visual learners.  However, we cannot overlook the learning preferences of other students as well.  We will show how to appeal to auditory learners, especially for our second-language learners with audio recordings and our kinesthetic learners can benefit from elements of gamification.

A healthy dose of gamification changes the rhythm of the course, appeals to those kinesthetic learners and lightens the mood all while assuring the content is being reinforced.  We will look at some examples we started with of the typical text- followed by- knowledge check feel of a lot of online courses.  Then we will see how a few examples led us to a much more user-friendly gamified experience.

Our tips on basic design, avatars for instructor presence and simple gamification will liven up dead content and appeal to a broad range of learners.  After participating in this session, you will be able to inject some e-life into your online course!