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Designing Assignments for Learning

The rapid shift to remote teaching and learning meant that many instructors reimagined their assessment practices. Whether adapting existing assignments or creatively designing new opportunities for their students to learn, instructors focused on helping students make meaning and demonstrate their learning outside of the traditional, face-to-face classroom setting. This resource distills the elements of assignment design that are important to carry forward as we continue to seek better ways of assessing learning and build on our innovative assignment designs.

On this page:

Rethinking traditional tests, quizzes, and exams.

  • Examples from the Columbia University Classroom
  • Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning

Reflect On Your Assignment Design

Connect with the ctl.

  • Resources and References

e learning assignments

Cite this resource: Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (2021). Designing Assignments for Learning. Columbia University. Retrieved [today’s date] from https://ctl.columbia.edu/resources-and-technology/teaching-with-technology/teaching-online/designing-assignments/

Traditional assessments tend to reveal whether students can recognize, recall, or replicate what was learned out of context, and tend to focus on students providing correct responses (Wiggins, 1990). In contrast, authentic assignments, which are course assessments, engage students in higher order thinking, as they grapple with real or simulated challenges that help them prepare for their professional lives, and draw on the course knowledge learned and the skills acquired to create justifiable answers, performances or products (Wiggins, 1990). An authentic assessment provides opportunities for students to practice, consult resources, learn from feedback, and refine their performances and products accordingly (Wiggins 1990, 1998, 2014). 

Authentic assignments ask students to “do” the subject with an audience in mind and apply their learning in a new situation. Examples of authentic assignments include asking students to: 

  • Write for a real audience (e.g., a memo, a policy brief, letter to the editor, a grant proposal, reports, building a website) and/or publication;
  • Solve problem sets that have real world application; 
  • Design projects that address a real world problem; 
  • Engage in a community-partnered research project;
  • Create an exhibit, performance, or conference presentation ;
  • Compile and reflect on their work through a portfolio/e-portfolio.

Noteworthy elements of authentic designs are that instructors scaffold the assignment, and play an active role in preparing students for the tasks assigned, while students are intentionally asked to reflect on the process and product of their work thus building their metacognitive skills (Herrington and Oliver, 2000; Ashford-Rowe, Herrington and Brown, 2013; Frey, Schmitt, and Allen, 2012). 

It’s worth noting here that authentic assessments can initially be time consuming to design, implement, and grade. They are critiqued for being challenging to use across course contexts and for grading reliability issues (Maclellan, 2004). Despite these challenges, authentic assessments are recognized as beneficial to student learning (Svinicki, 2004) as they are learner-centered (Weimer, 2013), promote academic integrity (McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, 2021; Sotiriadou et al., 2019; Schroeder, 2021) and motivate students to learn (Ambrose et al., 2010). The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning is always available to consult with faculty who are considering authentic assessment designs and to discuss challenges and affordances.   

Examples from the Columbia University Classroom 

Columbia instructors have experimented with alternative ways of assessing student learning from oral exams to technology-enhanced assignments. Below are a few examples of authentic assignments in various teaching contexts across Columbia University. 

  • E-portfolios: Statia Cook shares her experiences with an ePorfolio assignment in her co-taught Frontiers of Science course (a submission to the Voices of Hybrid and Online Teaching and Learning initiative); CUIMC use of ePortfolios ;
  • Case studies: Columbia instructors have engaged their students in authentic ways through case studies drawing on the Case Consortium at Columbia University. Read and watch a faculty spotlight to learn how Professor Mary Ann Price uses the case method to place pre-med students in real-life scenarios;
  • Simulations: students at CUIMC engage in simulations to develop their professional skills in The Mary & Michael Jaharis Simulation Center in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center in the Columbia School of Nursing; 
  • Experiential learning: instructors have drawn on New York City as a learning laboratory such as Barnard’s NYC as Lab webpage which highlights courses that engage students in NYC;
  • Design projects that address real world problems: Yevgeniy Yesilevskiy on the Engineering design projects completed using lab kits during remote learning. Watch Dr. Yesilevskiy talk about his teaching and read the Columbia News article . 
  • Writing assignments: Lia Marshall and her teaching associate Aparna Balasundaram reflect on their “non-disposable or renewable assignments” to prepare social work students for their professional lives as they write for a real audience; and Hannah Weaver spoke about a sandbox assignment used in her Core Literature Humanities course at the 2021 Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium . Watch Dr. Weaver share her experiences.  

​Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning

While designing an effective authentic assignment may seem like a daunting task, the following tips can be used as a starting point. See the Resources section for frameworks and tools that may be useful in this effort.  

Align the assignment with your course learning objectives 

Identify the kind of thinking that is important in your course, the knowledge students will apply, and the skills they will practice using through the assignment. What kind of thinking will students be asked to do for the assignment? What will students learn by completing this assignment? How will the assignment help students achieve the desired course learning outcomes? For more information on course learning objectives, see the CTL’s Course Design Essentials self-paced course and watch the video on Articulating Learning Objectives .  

Identify an authentic meaning-making task

For meaning-making to occur, students need to understand the relevance of the assignment to the course and beyond (Ambrose et al., 2010). To Bean (2011) a “meaning-making” or “meaning-constructing” task has two dimensions: 1) it presents students with an authentic disciplinary problem or asks students to formulate their own problems, both of which engage them in active critical thinking, and 2) the problem is placed in “a context that gives students a role or purpose, a targeted audience, and a genre.” (Bean, 2011: 97-98). 

An authentic task gives students a realistic challenge to grapple with, a role to take on that allows them to “rehearse for the complex ambiguities” of life, provides resources and supports to draw on, and requires students to justify their work and the process they used to inform their solution (Wiggins, 1990). Note that if students find an assignment interesting or relevant, they will see value in completing it. 

Consider the kind of activities in the real world that use the knowledge and skills that are the focus of your course. How is this knowledge and these skills applied to answer real-world questions to solve real-world problems? (Herrington et al., 2010: 22). What do professionals or academics in your discipline do on a regular basis? What does it mean to think like a biologist, statistician, historian, social scientist? How might your assignment ask students to draw on current events, issues, or problems that relate to the course and are of interest to them? How might your assignment tap into student motivation and engage them in the kinds of thinking they can apply to better understand the world around them? (Ambrose et al., 2010). 

Determine the evaluation criteria and create a rubric

To ensure equitable and consistent grading of assignments across students, make transparent the criteria you will use to evaluate student work. The criteria should focus on the knowledge and skills that are central to the assignment. Build on the criteria identified, create a rubric that makes explicit the expectations of deliverables and share this rubric with your students so they can use it as they work on the assignment. For more information on rubrics, see the CTL’s resource Incorporating Rubrics into Your Grading and Feedback Practices , and explore the Association of American Colleges & Universities VALUE Rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). 

Build in metacognition

Ask students to reflect on what and how they learned from the assignment. Help students uncover personal relevance of the assignment, find intrinsic value in their work, and deepen their motivation by asking them to reflect on their process and their assignment deliverable. Sample prompts might include: what did you learn from this assignment? How might you draw on the knowledge and skills you used on this assignment in the future? See Ambrose et al., 2010 for more strategies that support motivation and the CTL’s resource on Metacognition ). 

Provide students with opportunities to practice

Design your assignment to be a learning experience and prepare students for success on the assignment. If students can reasonably expect to be successful on an assignment when they put in the required effort ,with the support and guidance of the instructor, they are more likely to engage in the behaviors necessary for learning (Ambrose et al., 2010). Ensure student success by actively teaching the knowledge and skills of the course (e.g., how to problem solve, how to write for a particular audience), modeling the desired thinking, and creating learning activities that build up to a graded assignment. Provide opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills they will need for the assignment, whether through low-stakes in-class activities or homework activities that include opportunities to receive and incorporate formative feedback. For more information on providing feedback, see the CTL resource Feedback for Learning . 

Communicate about the assignment 

Share the purpose, task, audience, expectations, and criteria for the assignment. Students may have expectations about assessments and how they will be graded that is informed by their prior experiences completing high-stakes assessments, so be transparent. Tell your students why you are asking them to do this assignment, what skills they will be using, how it aligns with the course learning outcomes, and why it is relevant to their learning and their professional lives (i.e., how practitioners / professionals use the knowledge and skills in your course in real world contexts and for what purposes). Finally, verify that students understand what they need to do to complete the assignment. This can be done by asking students to respond to poll questions about different parts of the assignment, a “scavenger hunt” of the assignment instructions–giving students questions to answer about the assignment and having them work in small groups to answer the questions, or by having students share back what they think is expected of them.

Plan to iterate and to keep the focus on learning 

Draw on multiple sources of data to help make decisions about what changes are needed to the assignment, the assignment instructions, and/or rubric to ensure that it contributes to student learning. Explore assignment performance data. As Deandra Little reminds us: “a really good assignment, which is a really good assessment, also teaches you something or tells the instructor something. As much as it tells you what students are learning, it’s also telling you what they aren’t learning.” ( Teaching in Higher Ed podcast episode 337 ). Assignment bottlenecks–where students get stuck or struggle–can be good indicators that students need further support or opportunities to practice prior to completing an assignment. This awareness can inform teaching decisions. 

Triangulate the performance data by collecting student feedback, and noting your own reflections about what worked well and what did not. Revise the assignment instructions, rubric, and teaching practices accordingly. Consider how you might better align your assignment with your course objectives and/or provide more opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills that they will rely on for the assignment. Additionally, keep in mind societal, disciplinary, and technological changes as you tweak your assignments for future use. 

Now is a great time to reflect on your practices and experiences with assignment design and think critically about your approach. Take a closer look at an existing assignment. Questions to consider include: What is this assignment meant to do? What purpose does it serve? Why do you ask students to do this assignment? How are they prepared to complete the assignment? Does the assignment assess the kind of learning that you really want? What would help students learn from this assignment? 

Using the tips in the previous section: How can the assignment be tweaked to be more authentic and meaningful to students? 

As you plan forward for post-pandemic teaching and reflect on your practices and reimagine your course design, you may find the following CTL resources helpful: Reflecting On Your Experiences with Remote Teaching , Transition to In-Person Teaching , and Course Design Support .

The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is here to help!

For assistance with assignment design, rubric design, or any other teaching and learning need, please request a consultation by emailing [email protected]

Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) framework for assignments. The TILT Examples and Resources page ( https://tilthighered.com/tiltexamplesandresources ) includes example assignments from across disciplines, as well as a transparent assignment template and a checklist for designing transparent assignments . Each emphasizes the importance of articulating to students the purpose of the assignment or activity, the what and how of the task, and specifying the criteria that will be used to assess students. 

Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) offers VALUE ADD (Assignment Design and Diagnostic) tools ( https://www.aacu.org/value-add-tools ) to help with the creation of clear and effective assignments that align with the desired learning outcomes and associated VALUE rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). VALUE ADD encourages instructors to explicitly state assignment information such as the purpose of the assignment, what skills students will be using, how it aligns with course learning outcomes, the assignment type, the audience and context for the assignment, clear evaluation criteria, desired formatting, and expectations for completion whether individual or in a group.

Villarroel et al. (2017) propose a blueprint for building authentic assessments which includes four steps: 1) consider the workplace context, 2) design the authentic assessment; 3) learn and apply standards for judgement; and 4) give feedback. 


Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., & DiPietro, M. (2010). Chapter 3: What Factors Motivate Students to Learn? In How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching . Jossey-Bass. 

Ashford-Rowe, K., Herrington, J., and Brown, C. (2013). Establishing the critical elements that determine authentic assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 39(2), 205-222, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2013.819566 .  

Bean, J.C. (2011). Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom . Second Edition. Jossey-Bass. 

Frey, B. B, Schmitt, V. L., and Allen, J. P. (2012). Defining Authentic Classroom Assessment. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation. 17(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.7275/sxbs-0829  

Herrington, J., Reeves, T. C., and Oliver, R. (2010). A Guide to Authentic e-Learning . Routledge. 

Herrington, J. and Oliver, R. (2000). An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(3), 23-48. 

Litchfield, B. C. and Dempsey, J. V. (2015). Authentic Assessment of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 142 (Summer 2015), 65-80. 

Maclellan, E. (2004). How convincing is alternative assessment for use in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 29(3), June 2004. DOI: 10.1080/0260293042000188267

McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, J. (2021). Assessments in a Virtual Environment: You Won’t Need that Lockdown Browser! Faculty Focus. June 2, 2021. 

Mueller, J. (2005). The Authentic Assessment Toolbox: Enhancing Student Learning through Online Faculty Development . MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 1(1). July 2005. Mueller’s Authentic Assessment Toolbox is available online. 

Schroeder, R. (2021). Vaccinate Against Cheating With Authentic Assessment . Inside Higher Ed. (February 26, 2021).  

Sotiriadou, P., Logan, D., Daly, A., and Guest, R. (2019). The role of authentic assessment to preserve academic integrity and promote skills development and employability. Studies in Higher Education. 45(111), 2132-2148. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1582015    

Stachowiak, B. (Host). (November 25, 2020). Authentic Assignments with Deandra Little. (Episode 337). In Teaching in Higher Ed . https://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/authentic-assignments/  

Svinicki, M. D. (2004). Authentic Assessment: Testing in Reality. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 100 (Winter 2004): 23-29. 

Villarroel, V., Bloxham, S, Bruna, D., Bruna, C., and Herrera-Seda, C. (2017). Authentic assessment: creating a blueprint for course design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 43(5), 840-854. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2017.1412396    

Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice . Second Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Wiggins, G. (2014). Authenticity in assessment, (re-)defined and explained. Retrieved from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/authenticity-in-assessment-re-defined-and-explained/

Wiggins, G. (1998). Teaching to the (Authentic) Test. Educational Leadership . April 1989. 41-47. 

Wiggins, Grant (1990). The Case for Authentic Assessment . Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation , 2(2). 

Wondering how AI tools might play a role in your course assignments?

See the CTL’s resource “Considerations for AI Tools in the Classroom.”

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Creating and Adapting Assignments for Online Courses

Woman with dark hair and glasses working on laptop

Online teaching requires a deliberate shift in how we communicate, deliver information, and offer feedback to our students. How do you effectively design and modify your assignments to accommodate this shift? The ways you introduce students to new assignments, keep them on track, identify and remedy confusion, and provide feedback after an assignment is due must be altered to fit the online setting. Intentional planning can help you ensure assignments are optimally designed for an online course and expectations are clearly communicated to students.  

When teaching online, it can be tempting to focus on the differences from in-person instruction in terms of adjustments, or what you need to make up for. However, there are many affordances of online assignments that can deepen learning and student engagement. Students gain new channels of interaction, flexibility in when and where they access assignments, more immediate feedback, and a student-centered experience (Gayten and McEwen, 2007; Ragupathi, 2020; Robles and Braathen, 2002). Meanwhile, ample research has uncovered that online assignments benefit instructors through automatic grading, better measurement of learning, greater student involvement, and the storing and reuse of assignments. 

In Practice

While the purpose and planning of online assignments remain the same as their in-person counterparts, certain adjustments can make them more effective. The strategies outlined below will help you design online assignments that support student success while leveraging the benefits of the online environment. 

Align assignments to learning outcomes. 

All assignments work best when they align with your learning outcomes. Each online assignment should advance students' achievement of one or more of your specific outcomes. You may be familiar with  Bloom's Taxonomy,  a well-known framework that organizes and classifies learning objectives based on the actions students take to demonstrate their learning. Online assignments have the added advantage of flexing students' digital skills, and Bloom's has been revamped for the digital age to incorporate technology-based tasks into its categories. For example, students might search for definitions online as they learn and remember course materials, tweet their understanding of a concept, mind map an analysis, or create a podcast. 

See a  complete description of Bloom's Digital Taxonomy  for further ideas. 

Provide authentic assessments. 

Authentic assessments call for relevant, purposeful actions that mimic the real-life tasks students may encounter in their lives and careers beyond the university. They represent a shift away from infrequent high-stakes assessments that tend to evaluate the acquisition of knowledge over application and understanding. Authentic assessments allow students to see the connection between what they're learning and how that learning is used and contextualized outside the virtual walls of the learning management system, thereby increasing their motivation and engagement. 

There are many ways to incorporate authenticity into an assignment, but three main strategies are to use  authentic audiences, content, and formats . A student might, for example, compose a business plan for an audience of potential investors, create a patient care plan that translates medical jargon into lay language, or propose a safe storage process for a museum collection.  

Authentic assessments in online courses can easily incorporate the internet or digital tools as part of an authentic format. Blogs, podcasts, social media posts, and multimedia artifacts such as infographics and videos represent authentic formats that leverage the online context. 

Learn more about  authentic assessments in Designing Assessments of Student Learning . 

Design for inclusivity and accessibility. 

Fingers type on a laptop keyboard.

Adopting universal design principles at the outset of course creation will ensure your material is accessible to all students. As you plan your assignments, it's important to keep in mind barriers to access in terms of tools, technology, and cost. Consider which tools achieve your learning outcomes with the fewest barriers. 

Offering a variety of assignment formats is one way to ensure students can demonstrate learning in a manner that works best for them. You can provide options within an individual assignment, such as allowing students to submit either written text or an audio recording or to choose from several technologies or platforms when completing a project. 

Be mindful of how you frame and describe an assignment to ensure it doesn't disregard populations through exclusionary language or use culturally specific references that some students may not understand. Inclusive language for all genders and racial or ethnic backgrounds can foster a sense of belonging that fully invests students in the learning community.  

Learn more about  Universal Design of Learning  and  Shaping a Positive Learning Environment . 

Design to promote academic integrity online. 

Much like incorporating universal design principles at the outset of course creation, you can take a proactive approach to academic integrity online. Design assignments that limit the possibilities for students to use the work of others or receive prohibited outside assistance.  

Provide   authentic assessments  that are more difficult to plagiarize because they incorporate recent events or unique contexts and formats. 

Scaffold assignments  so that students can work their way up to a final product by submitting smaller portions and receiving feedback along the way. 

Lower the stakes  by providing more frequent formative assessments in place of high-stakes, high-stress assessments. 

In addition to proactively creating assignments that deter cheating, there are several university-supported tools at your disposal to help identify and prevent cheating.  

Learn more about these tools in  Strategies and Tools for Academic Integrity in Online Environments . 

Communicate detailed instructions and clarify expectations. 

When teaching in-person, you likely dedicate class time to introducing and explaining an assignment; students can ask questions or linger after class for further clarification. In an online class, especially in  asynchronous  online classes, you must anticipate where students' questions might arise and account for them in the assignment instructions.  

The  Carmen course template  addresses some of students' common questions when completing an assignment. The template offers places to explain the assignment's purpose, list out steps students should take when completing it, provide helpful resources, and detail academic integrity considerations.  

Providing a rubric will clarify for students how you will evaluate their work, as well as make your grading more efficient. Sharing examples of previous student work (both good and bad) can further help students see how everything should come together in their completed products. 

Technology Tip

Enter all  assignments and due dates  in your Carmen course to increase transparency. When assignments are entered in Carmen, they also populate to Calendar, Syllabus, and Grades areas so students can easily track their upcoming work. Carmen also allows you to  develop rubrics  for every assignment in your course.  

Promote interaction and collaboration. 

Man speaking to his laptop

Frequent student-student interaction in any course, but particularly in online courses, is integral to developing a healthy learning community that engages students with course material and contributes to academic achievement. Online education has the inherent benefit of offering multiple channels of interaction through which this can be accomplished. 

Carmen  Discussions   are a versatile platform for students to converse about and analyze course materials, connect socially, review each other's work, and communicate asynchronously during group projects. 

Peer review  can be enabled in Carmen  Assignments  and  Discussions .  Rubrics  can be attached to an assignment or a discussion that has peer review enabled, and students can use these rubrics as explicit criteria for their evaluation. Alternatively, peer review can occur within the comments of a discussion board if all students will benefit from seeing each other's responses. 

Group projects  can be carried out asynchronously through Carmen  Discussions  or  Groups , or synchronously through Carmen's  Chat function  or  CarmenZoom . Students (and instructors) may have apprehensions about group projects, but well-designed group work can help students learn from each other and draw on their peers’ strengths. Be explicit about your expectations for student interaction and offer ample support resources to ensure success on group assignments. 

Learn more about  Student Interaction Online .

Choose technology wisely. 

The internet is a vast and wondrous place, full of technology and tools that do amazing things. These tools can give students greater flexibility in approaching an assignment or deepen their learning through interactive elements. That said, it's important to be selective when integrating external tools into your online course.  

Look first to your learning outcomes and, if you are considering an external tool, determine whether the technology will help students achieve these learning outcomes. Unless one of your outcomes is for students to master new technology, the cognitive effort of using an unfamiliar tool may distract from your learning outcomes.  

Carmen should ultimately be the foundation of your course where you centralize all materials and assignments. Thoughtfully selected external tools can be useful in certain circumstances. 

Explore supported tools 

There are many  university-supported tools  and resources already available to Ohio State users. Before looking to external tools, you should explore the available options to see if you can accomplish your instructional goals with supported systems, including the  eLearning toolset , approved  CarmenCanvas integrations , and the  Microsoft365 suite .  

If a tool is not university-supported, keep in mind the security and accessibility implications, the learning curve required to use the tool, and the need for additional support resources. If you choose to use a new tool, provide links to relevant help guides on the assignment page or post a video tutorial. Include explicit instructions on how students can get technical support should they encounter technical difficulties with the tool. 

Adjustments to your assignment design can guide students toward academic success while leveraging the benefits of the online environment.  

Effective assignments in online courses are:  

Aligned to course learning outcomes 

Authentic and reflect real-life tasks 

Accessible and inclusive for all learners 

Designed to encourage academic integrity 

Transparent with clearly communicated expectations 

Designed to promote student interaction and collaboration 

Supported with intentional technology tools 

  • Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty (e-book)
  • Making Your Course Accessible for All Learners (workshop reccording)
  • Writing Multiple Choice Questions that Demand Critical Thinking (article)

Learning Opportunities

Conrad, D., & Openo, J. (2018).  Assessment strategies for online learning: Engagement and authenticity . AU Press. Retrieved from  https://library.ohio-state.edu/record=b8475002~S7 

Gaytan, J., & McEwen, B. C. (2007). Effective online instructional and assessment strategies.  American Journal of Distance Education ,  21 (3), 117–132. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923640701341653   

Mayer, R. E. (2001).  Multimedia learning . New York: Cambridge University Press.  

Ragupathi, K. (2020). Designing Effective Online Assessments Resource Guide . National University of Singapore. Retrieved from  https://www.nus.edu.sg/cdtl/docs/default-source/professional-development-docs/resources/designing-online-assessments.pdf  

Robles, M., & Braathen, S. (2002). Online assessment techniques.  Delta Pi Epsilon Journal ,  44 (1), 39–49.  https://proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=507795215&site=eds-live&scope=site  

Swan, K., Shen, J., & Hiltz, S. R. (2006). Assessment and collaboration in online learning.  Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks ,  10 (1), 45.  

TILT Higher Ed. (n.d.).  TILT Examples and Resources . Retrieved from   https://tilthighered.com/tiltexamplesandresources  

Tallent-Runnels, M. K., Thomas, J. A., Lan, W. Y., Cooper, S., Ahern, T. C., Shaw, S. M., & Liu, X. (2006). Teaching Courses Online: A Review of the Research.  Review of Educational Research ,  76 (1), 93–135.  https://www-jstor-org.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/stable/3700584  

Walvoord, B. & Anderson, V.J. (2010).  Effective Grading : A Tool for Learning and Assessment in College: Vol. 2nd ed . Jossey-Bass.  https://library.ohio-state.edu/record=b8585181~S7

Related Teaching Topics

Designing assessments of student learning, strategies and tools for academic integrity in online environments, student interaction online, universal design for learning: planning with all students in mind, related toolsets, carmencanvas, search for resources.

9 Common Types of Assignments in Online Courses

Discussion boards, wikis and research papers are common examples of online coursework.

9 Types of Assignments in Online Courses

e learning assignments

Getty Images

In some instances, online students watch recorded lectures and respond at their own pace.

Students considering taking their first online course may worry about the types of assignments they will encounter.

In particular, those who are accustomed to face-to-face education may not know what coursework to expect before they start. Below is a list of nine common types of virtual assignments instructors generally assign in online classes.

1. Read or watch, then respond: This type of assignment closely mirrors the face-to-face lecture. Instructors provide video lectures, articles or book chapters and assign students a set of questions. Students can read or watch the material at their own pace, so long as they meet the deadline for their responses.

2. Research papers: Formal research papers remain a popular assignment in online classes . Writing about research is a required skill for many graduate degrees , and publishing original research is a measure of expertise in many disciplines.

There is little difference in completing research papers for online versus on-ground classes. However, online learners should ensure they have remote access to a university's library resources to succeed.

3. Exams: The often-dreaded tests and quizzes are also common in online courses. But the rules and testing environments can differ depending on the institution. Some will use proctoring services that monitor students through webcams and identity verification questions.

4. Discussion boards: Usually intended as a supplement to the weekly coursework, the discussion forum is intended to replace the in-class discussion or seminar. In the virtual classroom, students respond to a prompt and each other. Some discussions require students to submit responses before being able to see what classmates wrote.

5. Blogs: These keep a running public dialogue of students' thoughts and ideas about a topic. Students can add new insights to the blog throughout the course, and sometimes other students can comment. Blogs are particularly useful for online classes that require students to reflect upon life or clinical experiences and internships.

6. Journals: The journal assignment is usually a private way for online students to communicate with the instructor . Sometimes, journal topics are prescribed and formal, but usually these assignments allow students to express ideas, opinions, concerns and questions about course material.

7. Wikis: These are especially useful for group work . Students can comment on and edit a shared document to develop task lists, write research questions, document experiences or start discussions.

8. Case-based assignments: These are more popular in certain fields than others. Generally, an assigned reading or video vividly depicts a real-world example of the issues or concepts the class is learning about, describing all of the salient details and information. Well-constructed cases force students to analyze problems and research, test and present potential solutions.

9. Self-paced adaptive assignments: Adaptive learning is growing in popularity, especially in subjects such as math and science.

Learn how to

Usually, students watch short lectures, then answer a set of questions. Based on how they perform, new lectures follow and focus on areas the student needs help with. These types of courses generally don't have a class or cohort structure as each student moves at a personalized pace. There may not be one instructor for the course, but a team of facilitators is generally available in real time.

The takeaway: While these types of virtual assignments don't represent the total list of possibilities, they are among the most common. Instructors will choose which online coursework best fits the material and learning objectives. Each online class may be slightly different.

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About Online Learning Lessons

Making the decision to pursue an online program can be intimidating for students. Online Learning Lessons offers tips and advice from online students and educators on everything from finding a program and paying for it to what happens after enrolling. Got a question? Email [email protected] .

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How to Use an LMS for eLearning

e learning assignments

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, eLearning has emerged as a transformative force, reshaping the way we acquire knowledge and skills. Students can now access information at their fingertips, learning from school, home, or anywhere they have an internet connection. This digital age of learning has made education more accessible and equitable to learners. 

The learning management systems are key drivers in the evolution of eLearning – improving teaching and learning in digital spaces. With an LMS now being an integral part of the academic landscape, how can we leverage eLearning with its tools? In this article, we’ll learn about eLearning and how to use an LMS to enhance learning in technology-enhanced teaching environments.

What is eLearning?

Electronic learning or eLearning is an umbrella term for all learning and teaching delivered through digital mediums. Elearning acts as a contrast to the traditional paper and pen methods of learning, often adding convenience and flexibility to the learning environment. However, you can expect a combination of traditional and eLearning in today's classrooms. Let’s take a look at some common forms of eLearning: 

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) : A well-known form of eLearning that provides open access to a variety of educational courses. MOOCs are known to offer equitable education, providing access to courses to people no matter where in the world they live. 

Webinars : Online workshops, seminars, or courses. Webinars are typically live and interactive, allowing participants to engage with presenters and the discussion board on a particular topic.

Distance Learning : Also known as remote learning, provides educational access to students who are not physically on campus. Students who engage in distance learning often do so for convenience, flexibility, or more control over their learning schedule.

Hybrid & Hyflex : In hybrid learning, students go back and forth between online and in-person learning. The structure is determined by the teacher and pertains to all students. The hyflex model adds more flexibility, allowing students to choose between asynchronous and synchronous learning either on-campus or remotely according to their preferences or circumstances.

Online Learning : Unlike hybrid or hyflex, online learning is completely digitized , allowing students to learn 100% online. Online learning is what makes distance learning possible and is supported by an LMS.

Certifications & Badges : eLearning programs that center on skill building, where students receive certifications and credentials after completing a skills-based course. Badges can be offered in a pathway model or as stand-alone achievements.  Learn more about micro-credentialing and badges in this article . 

Diving Deeper into the LMS 

An LMS enhances the eLearning experience by providing a seamless digital ecosystem to teachers, students, and learners everywhere. At the core, a learning management system manages, tracks, delivers, and validates course content and students' learnings. An LMS can offer a range of features that support eLearning. Here are a few common features that drive impact: 

features that benefit student learning

Course creation and management : Educators can design and craft engaging learning experiences within their courses, modules, and assignments.

Tracking and analytics : Educators and students can track performance and progress. This helps identify areas of improvement and areas of competency. 

Integration capabilities : An LMS can integrate with other popular edtech tools, allowing students to access everything they need in one place.

Collaboration and engagement tools : Students can collaborate with one another in discussion boards, chats, groups, etc., making learning more interactive for everyone.

Mobile learning : Students can access their course on the go. LMS mobile applications offer functionality and convenience for teachers, students, and families. Learn more about the Canvas Mobile App . 

How to use an LMS in eLearning?

Similar to the traditional in-person environment, students expect a welcoming and professional space to learn online. In an eLearning space, the first priority should be usability and functionality. The platform's ability to sustain and facilitate learning outcomes is essential. That's why a trusted LMS with superior troubleshooting and usability is important to the health of the eLearning ecosystem.

With Canvas LMS, students can easily navigate their coursework, submit assignments, interact with educators & peers, and track their progress. Students can be further engaged with course discussions, interactive assignments, and collaborative projects. These tools can help personalize their learning experience – making learning count for each individual. Learn more about using LMS to engage learners . 

Remember to take advantage of your management systems' performance-tracking capabilities. Performance can be tracked on the individual, course, and institutional levels. Institutions can even track the effectiveness of the digital tools used in their eLearning programs. Make the most of these features, ensuring digital programs are providing impact where it counts.

Choosing the Right LMS for Your eLearning Environment

An institution's LMS should not merely meet needs but provide the best tools for their academic programs. Here are factors to consider when choosing an LMS for eLearning environments:

Scalability, user-friendliness, and integration capabilities : Consider if an LMS can support your institution's size, needs, and future goals. Can the LMS evolve with your school? An LMS should also be easy to use and have all the necessary tools to make learning successful. 

Security features and customization options : With the academic world's continued transition into tech, security and privacy features are essential. Data security keeps user information safe and only accessible to learners and those facilitating the learning experience. In addition, personal profiles allow users to customize their experience.

For additional support in choosing an LMS, take a look at our LMS Comparison Guide .

Using Canvas LMS for eLearning

Canvas LMS continues to be the #1 learning management system in North America, adding value to eLearning globally. Want to dig in more? Check out our LMS Buyer’s Guide .

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Teaching excellence & educational innovation, creating assignments.

Here are some general suggestions and questions to consider when creating assignments. There are also many other resources in print and on the web that provide examples of interesting, discipline-specific assignment ideas.

Consider your learning objectives.

What do you want students to learn in your course? What could they do that would show you that they have learned it? To determine assignments that truly serve your course objectives, it is useful to write out your objectives in this form: I want my students to be able to ____. Use active, measurable verbs as you complete that sentence (e.g., compare theories, discuss ramifications, recommend strategies), and your learning objectives will point you towards suitable assignments.

Design assignments that are interesting and challenging.

This is the fun side of assignment design. Consider how to focus students’ thinking in ways that are creative, challenging, and motivating. Think beyond the conventional assignment type! For example, one American historian requires students to write diary entries for a hypothetical Nebraska farmwoman in the 1890s. By specifying that students’ diary entries must demonstrate the breadth of their historical knowledge (e.g., gender, economics, technology, diet, family structure), the instructor gets students to exercise their imaginations while also accomplishing the learning objectives of the course (Walvoord & Anderson, 1989, p. 25).

Double-check alignment.

After creating your assignments, go back to your learning objectives and make sure there is still a good match between what you want students to learn and what you are asking them to do. If you find a mismatch, you will need to adjust either the assignments or the learning objectives. For instance, if your goal is for students to be able to analyze and evaluate texts, but your assignments only ask them to summarize texts, you would need to add an analytical and evaluative dimension to some assignments or rethink your learning objectives.

Name assignments accurately.

Students can be misled by assignments that are named inappropriately. For example, if you want students to analyze a product’s strengths and weaknesses but you call the assignment a “product description,” students may focus all their energies on the descriptive, not the critical, elements of the task. Thus, it is important to ensure that the titles of your assignments communicate their intention accurately to students.

Consider sequencing.

Think about how to order your assignments so that they build skills in a logical sequence. Ideally, assignments that require the most synthesis of skills and knowledge should come later in the semester, preceded by smaller assignments that build these skills incrementally. For example, if an instructor’s final assignment is a research project that requires students to evaluate a technological solution to an environmental problem, earlier assignments should reinforce component skills, including the ability to identify and discuss key environmental issues, apply evaluative criteria, and find appropriate research sources.

Think about scheduling.

Consider your intended assignments in relation to the academic calendar and decide how they can be reasonably spaced throughout the semester, taking into account holidays and key campus events. Consider how long it will take students to complete all parts of the assignment (e.g., planning, library research, reading, coordinating groups, writing, integrating the contributions of team members, developing a presentation), and be sure to allow sufficient time between assignments.

Check feasibility.

Is the workload you have in mind reasonable for your students? Is the grading burden manageable for you? Sometimes there are ways to reduce workload (whether for you or for students) without compromising learning objectives. For example, if a primary objective in assigning a project is for students to identify an interesting engineering problem and do some preliminary research on it, it might be reasonable to require students to submit a project proposal and annotated bibliography rather than a fully developed report. If your learning objectives are clear, you will see where corners can be cut without sacrificing educational quality.

Articulate the task description clearly.

If an assignment is vague, students may interpret it any number of ways – and not necessarily how you intended. Thus, it is critical to clearly and unambiguously identify the task students are to do (e.g., design a website to help high school students locate environmental resources, create an annotated bibliography of readings on apartheid). It can be helpful to differentiate the central task (what students are supposed to produce) from other advice and information you provide in your assignment description.

Establish clear performance criteria.

Different instructors apply different criteria when grading student work, so it’s important that you clearly articulate to students what your criteria are. To do so, think about the best student work you have seen on similar tasks and try to identify the specific characteristics that made it excellent, such as clarity of thought, originality, logical organization, or use of a wide range of sources. Then identify the characteristics of the worst student work you have seen, such as shaky evidence, weak organizational structure, or lack of focus. Identifying these characteristics can help you consciously articulate the criteria you already apply. It is important to communicate these criteria to students, whether in your assignment description or as a separate rubric or scoring guide . Clearly articulated performance criteria can prevent unnecessary confusion about your expectations while also setting a high standard for students to meet.

Specify the intended audience.

Students make assumptions about the audience they are addressing in papers and presentations, which influences how they pitch their message. For example, students may assume that, since the instructor is their primary audience, they do not need to define discipline-specific terms or concepts. These assumptions may not match the instructor’s expectations. Thus, it is important on assignments to specify the intended audience http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm (e.g., undergraduates with no biology background, a potential funder who does not know engineering).

Specify the purpose of the assignment.

If students are unclear about the goals or purpose of the assignment, they may make unnecessary mistakes. For example, if students believe an assignment is focused on summarizing research as opposed to evaluating it, they may seriously miscalculate the task and put their energies in the wrong place. The same is true they think the goal of an economics problem set is to find the correct answer, rather than demonstrate a clear chain of economic reasoning. Consequently, it is important to make your objectives for the assignment clear to students.

Specify the parameters.

If you have specific parameters in mind for the assignment (e.g., length, size, formatting, citation conventions) you should be sure to specify them in your assignment description. Otherwise, students may misapply conventions and formats they learned in other courses that are not appropriate for yours.

A Checklist for Designing Assignments

Here is a set of questions you can ask yourself when creating an assignment.

  • Provided a written description of the assignment (in the syllabus or in a separate document)?
  • Specified the purpose of the assignment?
  • Indicated the intended audience?
  • Articulated the instructions in precise and unambiguous language?
  • Provided information about the appropriate format and presentation (e.g., page length, typed, cover sheet, bibliography)?  
  • Indicated special instructions, such as a particular citation style or headings?  
  • Specified the due date and the consequences for missing it?
  • Articulated performance criteria clearly?
  • Indicated the assignment’s point value or percentage of the course grade?
  • Provided students (where appropriate) with models or samples?

Adapted from the WAC Clearinghouse at http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm .

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The Beginner’s Guide to Effective E-Learning Assessments

Bianca Woods

How do you know if your e-learning course is making an impact? Assessments—think tests and quizzes—can be a valuable data source. But if you’re new to e-learning, you might wonder what makes a good assessment and how do you measure what’s actually important?

Not to worry! In this article, we’ll cover the most common questions people have about what makes an effective e-learning quiz.

1. What are e-learning assessments?

Simply put, e-learning assessments are a digital way to check what someone knows. Course authors typically use them to evaluate how well learners understand the content. And learners can use them to gauge their knowledge and progress too.

Unlike paper tests, e-learning assessments can:

  • be completed whenever and wherever your learners want
  • include in-the-moment feedback
  • grade most learner responses automatically

And some e-learning authoring apps even include the option to randomize test questions, so each learner gets a different assessment!

2. Do I always need to include an assessment?

You’re probably used to classes and courses ending with a test. But they aren’t always necessary—and knowing when to leave them out can be a welcome timesaver for you and your learners. 

Assessments can be helpful when the goal of your training is to change learner behavior—they’re one way to determine whether that shift has happened. They also may be required for regulatory or certification purposes. But if your e-learning simply focuses on sharing information, a quiz might not be the best use of people’s time. The same applies if you know your learners are being assessed elsewhere, like with an on-the-job exam. The good news is that you can still track course completion in your learning management system (LMS ) even if you don’t include an assessment. That’s because most e-learning development tools now give you additional options for marking a course as complete, such as viewing a certain number of slides or setting off a custom completion trigger in the course .

3. When should you assess learners?

If an assessment makes sense for your course, the next question is: When do you include it? That’s right—there are multiple points where you can check your learners’ knowledge. Here are some common options and why you’d use them:

  • Before the course: Pre-tests can save training time by letting learners test out of material they already know. They're also a good way to get them invested in the material they do have to take by pointing out current knowledge gaps. From your perspective, pre-tests can check what learners know coming into the course, which helps you determine whether future iterations should be more advanced or more basic.
  • During the course: Assessments spread out over multiple points—such as at the end of lessons—can help learners check their understanding as they go.
  • Right after the course: The typical test, this kind of assessment evaluates what learners understand by the end of the training.
  • After some time has passed: It’s normal for some of your content to be forgotten over time. Follow-up assessments can gauge how well learners retain information long-term as well as what parts of it stick with them longest.

Including assessments at multiple points can also give you valuable insights. For example, one way to measure the actual impact of your course is to test learners at the beginning and end of it. As long as there aren’t any other variables at play at the same time (like other training or on-the-job coaching), you can credit your course for any improvements you see on post-test scores. 

What’s more, if assessment scores aren’t where you’d like, you can use pre- and post-test results to fine-tune your response. For example, they can reveal whether the problem is the overall course or just smaller sections of it. And they can highlight if learners are coming into the training with a larger knowledge gap than you expected.

Want to know even more about this topic? Check out the article How to Quiz Your Learners at the Right Time .

4. What kinds of questions can I include in my e-learning assessments?

There are lots of different kinds of assessment questions— and no one “perfect” type that works for every kind of fact or skill. Instead, you want to match the strengths of a particular question type to the knowledge you’re trying to assess.

But don’t worry if you’re in a time crunch—doing this well takes less work than you might think. Building these different question types takes almost no time at all, thanks to the features of e-learning development apps. And deciding which type to choose is easy with the help of the table below. It outlines the strengths of the most common kinds of e-learning questions, making picking the right ones a breeze.

Keep in mind that those are just the most common e-learning question types. So continue exploring what other kinds of assessments are out there and what additional options your e-learning authoring apps offer. And remember that you’re not stuck using just one question type throughout the whole test. You can always mix and match your options to best fit the content!

5. How do I design effective assessment questions?

Have you ever taken a frustrating test? Maybe it had trick questions that felt unfair, focused on unimportant minor details, or asked painfully easy questions. If any of that sounds familiar, then you know how aggravating those assessments can be for learners. Not only that, but they’re often poor indicators of whether people learned something meaningful from your course.

So how do you write questions that give you a clear picture of how effective your course is and don’t annoy your learners? Try these tips:

  • Closely tie questions to your learning objectives: That way, you only assess the parts of your course that matter most.
  • Don’t make the correct answer obvious: If the incorrect options are substantially shorter or longer than the correct ones or over-the-top terrible, learners can often simply guess which answer is right.
  • Avoid trick questions: Gotcha questions are more likely to make learners resentful than accurately assess their knowledge.
  • Align questions and activities to real-world situations when possible: This helps uncover if learners can move beyond memorization and apply their new knowledge in work situations.

For more advice on creating good assessments, spend some time with these two articles: How to Write Good E-Learning Quiz Questions and 6 Common Quizzing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them .

There you have it! Crafting useful e-learning assessments isn’t hard, so long as you’re strategic about when you include a quiz, where you place it, and what question types you use. Combine that with a few simple writing tips and you’re all set. You’ll feel confident that your assessment measures the things that matter—and your learners will feel like it’s a fair measure of their knowledge.

Want to dive even deeper into making effective quizzes? Give these articles a read!

  • Improve Your Quizzes With These Do’s and Don’ts
  • How to Match Question Types With the Skills You’re Testing
  • Put Learners to the Test With These Quizzing Examples

Have any of your own assessment creation tips to share? Please share them in the comments! And be sure to follow us on Twitter and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

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4 eLearning Assessment Examples and Why They Work

  • Jake Wengroff
  • March 16, 2021

e learning assignments

More than just a way to prove that learners passed or completed a course, assessments play a key role in measuring the capacity of your learners to grasp your course material and apply what they’ve learned on the job. 

By combining different test and quiz options, and at different intervals of the course—not just at the end—learners have a much higher chance of retaining more of the content and utilizing it for the benefit of the organization.

Additionally, not only do assessments provide another opportunity for learners to further their understanding and application of the concepts, but assessments can also provide critical indicators to the learning team about the effectiveness of their  instructional design components .

Indeed, assessments are a critical component of instructional design—equally as important as learning activities and outcomes. Because of the interdependency of these three components, instructional designers often point to the alignment triangle to demonstrate the relationship of the three:

e learning assignments

Let’s have a look at 4 different eLearning assessment types and why they work.

1. Pre-Assessment: Test Learners at the Beginning

One of the most underused eLearning assessment examples is actually a pre-assessment: quizzing your learners before they are about to begin a learning experience.

While some might consider this counterintuitive—or even a waste of time—a pre-assessment quiz accomplishes a few objectives:

  • “Learning mode” is jumpstarted in a fun, engaging, interactive way.
  • Learners have a chance to get an idea of what they know or may not know, and to understand how close or how far off they are in the subject matter.
  • Because they have an idea upfront of what knowledge they will eventually need to know, learners have a chance to understand just how much effort they will need to put into the course, removing frustration and surprises.

Try including a pre-assessment quiz when building your next eLearning experience—and be sure to gather user feedback. You’d be surprised at how engaged and committed students became, right from the outset.

Developing training shouldn’t be a tradeoff between speed and quality. Learn best-in-class instructional design processes in this free eBook: Change How You Design Training

2. Goodbye True-False and Multiple-Choice: Matching Is Better

Traditional eLearning assessment examples include true-false and multiple-choice questions. They’re popular because they’re familiar to learners and the L&D team can easily score the assessment and analyze the results.

However, most of these questions generally tend to be worded in an overly simplistic fashion. Additionally, learners can get obtain a correct answer even if they have not fully absorbed the material subject matter of the course. After all, true-false questions have a 50% chance of a correct answer, and multiple-choice has a 25% (for 4 answer choices) and 20% (for 5 answer choices)—so learners could very well end up getting lucky without really trying.

Instead, consider matching exercises. Such assessments are much more interactive because they enable learners to match two sets of data.  Matching exercises encourage a student to test their familiarity with the content by measuring their ability to identify a relationship or association between similar concepts.

Further, they’re highly engaging and interactive, as they can be presented in different ways, such as drag and match, drag and drop, and selections from drop-down menus.

e learning assignments

3. Choosing Your Own Adventure: Problem-Solving a Case Study

For more complex skill acquisition, and useful for ongoing assessment, the problem-solving case study is the ideal assessment tool for learners to help them bridge the gap between theory and practice.

In this type of assessment, the learner is asked to evaluate an event—whether real or fictional—so that their manager can measure the employee’s insights and strategies.

Since many business scenarios involve providing solutions to complicated situations, often every day, shouldn’t the assessment present the same or similar situations?

To do this, the manager can look to a recent client-facing or organizational issue and present it to the employee with one exception: the ending or result is left out.

Learners can be asked to think of a solution, and then explain why they chose a specific solution and how they could have chosen alternate paths to establish the same ending.

While the results of these problem-solving case studies require time and effort to analyze, managers and teams can gain a better insight into the learner’s practical application of skill acquisition, while providing a highly engaging platform for the employee.

Can assessments really catapult learning outcomes? Find out in this recorded webinar .

4. Assessing Learners as They Play: Gamification Still Works

Another one of the more popular eLearning assessment examples is gamification. In a learning environment, a game provides enjoyment, challenge, and opportunity. In games, anything the learner does has a consequence; therefore, games can become a valuable and experiential tool. 

Further, “participants find they were so engrossed in the activity that when it is over, they are satisfied with what they have learned ,” notes Dr. Gerald Zandstra in eLearning Industry. “What a surprise.”

Over the years, gamification has made its way into the organization, whether for marketing or training, and can include one or more of the following elements:

  • Competitions
  • Points, scoring, and leaderboards
  • Prizes and rewards
  • Role-playing
  • VR, AR, and simulations
  • Progression of difficulty or challenging material

No two gamification experiences are alike, and learning assessments can include one or more of these elements, depending on the profiles—and tolerance—of the learners.

Final words

Beyond course completions, the ultimate success of an eLearning course is through an assessment that measures the increased capacity for the learner to absorb, retain, and apply as much of the information and knowledge that was presented in the course.

Considering and building in the assessment early on will make the assessment seem like a natural part of the learning experience, reducing friction and increasing engagement.

How well do you really know your instructional design fundamentals? Find out now by taking this Instructional Design Fundamentals Quiz
  • Tags: eLearning Project Management , learning and development , Training and Development

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All 10 Types of E-Learning Explained

These are ten distinct types of e-learning that are commonly used in online classrooms.

  • By Sander Tamm
  • Jan 11, 2023

E-student.org is supported by our community of learners. When you visit links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Some educational scientists have categorized types of e-learning according to learning tools, while others have chosen to focus on metrics such as synchronicity and learning content. In this article, we will filter down all these findings into ten easily distinguishable types of e-learning.

These are the ten different types of e-learning:

Types of E-Learning

Before we look at these ten categories, it’s worth considering a reasonably common view among educational scientists who choose to classify e-learning types more simply. They identify two primary types of e-learning: computer-based e-learning  and  internet-based e-learning . This classification method could be seen as more accurate because it differentiates e-learning from online learning, the two of which are often incorrectly used interchangeably. Some forms of e-learning, such as Computer Managed Learning and Computer Assisted Instruction, are not required to take place online, but they are considered e-learning nonetheless.

1. Computer Managed Learning (CML)

In the case of  computer-managed learning  (CML), also known as  Computer Managed Instruction (CMI) , computers are used to manage and assess learning processes.  Computer managed learning systems operate through information databases. These databases contain bits of information that the student has to learn, together with several ranking parameters that enable the system to be individualized according to the preferences of each student. As a result of two-way communication between the student and the computer, determinations can be made as to whether the student achieved their learning goals on a satisfactory level. If not, the processes can be repeated until the student has completed their desired learning objectives.

Additionally, educational institutions use computer-managed learning systems for  storing and retrieving information which aids in educational management. This could include lecture information, training materials, grades, curriculum information, and enrolment information, among others.

2. Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI)

Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI), also sometimes referred to as computer-assisted learning (CAL), is another type of e-learning that uses computers together with traditional teaching. This could mean interactive software for the students or the kind of training software Patrick Suppes of Stanford University used in 1966 . Computer-assisted training methods use a combination of multimedia such as  text, graphics, sound, and video to enhance learning. The primary value of  CAI is interactivity – it allows students to become active learners instead of passive learners by utilizing various methods, such as quizzes and other computer-assisted teaching and testing mechanisms.

Most schools nowadays, both online and traditional, use different variations of computer-assisted learning to facilitate their students’ development of skills and knowledge.

3. Synchronous Online Learning

Synchronous online learning enables  groups of students to participate in a learning activity together at the same time from any place in the world. Real-time synchronous online learning often involves  online chats  and videoconferencing, as these tools allow training participants and  instructors  to ask and answer questions instantly while being able to communicate with the other participants.

This kind of community-oriented online learning has been made possible with the rapid development of online learning technologies. Before the invention of computer networks in the 1960s, truly synchronous e-learning was practically impossible to implement. Nowadays, synchronous e-learning is considered highly advantageous as it eliminates many of the common disadvantages of e-learning , such as  social isolation and poor teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships. Synchronous e-learning is currently one of the most popular and quickest-growing types of e-learning.

4. Asynchronous Online Learning

In the case of asynchronous online learning, groups of students study independently at different times and locations from each other without real-time communication taking place. Asynchronous e-learning methods are often considered to be more student-centered than their synchronous counterparts, as they give students more flexibility.

For these reasons, asynchronous e-learning is often preferred by students who do not have flexible schedules because it allows them to utilize self-paced learning. They can set their own timeframes for learning and are not required to learn at specific time intervals with other students.

Before the invention of the  PLATO computer system , all e-learning was considered asynchronous, as there were no computer networking methods available. However, nowadays, with the availability of computers and the World Wide Web, deciding between synchronous and asynchronous e-learning becomes more difficult, as each has its pros and cons.

5. Fixed E-Learning

Fixed e-learning is a fancy name for something you are likely already familiar with. “Fixed” in this context means that the content used during the learning process does not change from its original state and all the participating students receive the same information as all the others. The materials are predetermined by the teachers and don’t adapt to the student’s preferences.

This type of learning has been the standard in traditional classrooms for thousands of years, but it’s not ideal in e-learning environments. That is because fixed e-learning does not utilize valuable real-time data from student inputs. Analyzing each student individually through their data and making changes to the materials according to this data leads to better learning outcomes for all students.

6. Adaptive E-Learning

Adaptive e-learning is a new and innovative type of e-learning, making it possible to adapt and redesign learning materials for each learner. Taking several parameters such as student performance, goals, abilities, skills, and characteristics into consideration, adaptive e-learning tools allow education to become more individualized and student-centered than ever before.

We are now at a point where laboratory-based adaptive instructional techniques can be used for the mathematical sequencing of student data. When done correctly, this could mean a new era for educational science. While this type of e-learning can be more difficult to plan and accomplish than traditional teaching methods, its potential value and effectiveness are often understated.

7. Linear E-Learning

When referring to human-computer interaction, linear communication means that information passes from sender to receiver  without exception. In the case of e-learning, this becomes a very limiting factor, as it does not allow two-way communication between teachers and students. This type of e-learning does have its place in education, although it’s becoming less relevant with time. Sending training materials to students through television and radio programs is a classic example of linear e-learning.

8. Interactive Online Learning

Interactive e-learning allows senders to become receivers and vice versa, effectively enabling a two-way communication channel between the parties involved. From the messages sent and received, the teachers and students can make changes to their teaching and learning methods. For this reason, interactive e-learning is considerably more popular than linear, as it allows teachers and students to communicate more freely with each other.

9. Individual Online Learning

Individual learning in this context refers to the number of students participating in achieving the learning goals rather than the student-centeredness of the material. This type of learning has been the norm in traditional classrooms for thousands of years. When practicing individual learning, the students study the learning materials on their own (individually), and they are expected to meet their learning goals on their own.

This type of learning is not ideal for developing students’ communication skills and teamwork abilities, as it primarily focuses on students learning independently, without communication with other students. Therefore, a more modern approach is necessary to supplant the transmission of skills and abilities.

10. Collaborative Online Learning

Collaborative e-learning is a modern learning method through which multiple students learn and achieve their learning objectives together as a group. Students must work together and practice teamwork to achieve their common learning objectives.

This is done through the formation of effective groups, where each student has to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of each other student. This boosts the communication skills and teamwork abilities of the students. Collaborative e-learning expands on the idea that knowledge is best developed inside a group of individuals where they can interact and learn from each other.

While this type of learning is more often used in traditional classrooms than in online courses, it’s still a good type of e-learning that can be highly effective if done correctly.

Sander Tamm

Review of coursera’s google cybersecurity professional certificate.

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Learn to Teach Online: Microcredential for Educators

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A Comparison of 8 Learning Theories – Understanding the Different Ways People Learn

Each learning theory can provide us insight into how we obtain knowledge and provide us with guidance in creating opportunities that help our students learn.

Active Learning

What is active learning.

Active learning generally refers to any instructional method that engages students in the learning process beyond listening and passive note taking. Active learning approaches promote skill development and higher order thinking through activities that might include reading, writing, and/or discussion. Metacognition -- thinking about one’s thinking -- can also be an important element, helping students connect course activities to their learning (Brame, 2016).

Active learning is rooted in constructivist learning theory , or the idea that students (humans!) learn by connecting new information and experiences to their prior knowledge and experiences, allowing them to build, or construct, new knowledge and understandings (Bransford et al., 1999). Often, although not exclusively, active learning approaches also include collaborative and cooperative learning in small groups. These approaches stem from social constructivism , which emphasizes the importance of peer-to-peer interactions in learning (Vygotsky 1978).

Beyond the theoretical underpinnings, many studies across disciplines have explored the benefits of active learning approaches in college classrooms (e.g., Freeman et al., 2014; Prince et al., 2004). Active learning strategies provide valuable opportunities for students to develop disciplinary skills and expertise, including serving as sources of knowledge, formulating questions and articulating ideas, as well as fostering interactions with peers (Turpen & Finkelstein, 2009). Perhaps most notably, compared to traditional lecture alone, use of active learning approaches has been shown to increase student performance and decrease failure rates, particularly for students from underrepresented and excluded communities (Eddy & Hogan, 2014; Haak et al., 2011; Theobald et al., 2020).

What are some strategies that I might try? 

There are many different active learning strategies that instructors might incorporate into their teaching. These can range from brief interactions during lecture, activities that may take 10-20 minutes, to strategies that could span multiple class periods. The table below outlines a variety of sample strategies with tips for both in-person and remote implementation in courses. The strategies are roughly organized based on potential time-intensity for implementation. Instructors might also explore these active learning designs as they consider opportunities for using each strategy.

Purposeful Pause

Quick write or “minute” paper, think-pair-share (tps), polling/peer instruction, concept map, case study/group problem solving, think-aloud problem solving, gallery walk, what can active learning look like in practice.

In this section, we’ve included several resources with videos that describe different types of active learning strategies and how to implement them. Many also demonstrate active learning strategies in action.

REALISE videos, SEER Center, University of Georgia

Scientific Teaching Series , iBiology

Community-building active learning strategies (remote context), OneHE 

How might I get started?

  • Check out this active learning “cheat sheet” with 10 tips to help you get started, from choosing the “right” exercise to planning the logistics.
  • If you are new to active learning, you might start with identifying strategies to incorporate into your lecture (see these resources on lecturing and interactive lecturing ).
  • Have more questions, or interested in brainstorming for some ideas? Reach out to the Center for Teaching and Learning ( [email protected] ) for a consultation !

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What additional resources are available, active learning guides:.

  • Active Learning Teaching Guide , Vanderbilt CFT
  • Introduction to Active Learning , Michigan CRLT
  • Active Learning , Yale Poorvu Center

Advice and strategies related to remote active learning:

  • Hybrid active learning strategies , Eberly Center, CMU
  • Flipping the remote classroom , Berkeley CTL

For a deeper dive:

Check out these research summaries describing common active learning techniques.

Polling with a student response system:

This Clicker Resource Guide (see PDF ) has some helpful advice for using polling questions in class with a student response system (e.g., iClicker Cloud or Poll Everywhere), including tips for logistics and "choreography" for implementation. It also touches on writing effective conceptual questions that are multiple choice.

Additional group-based learning approaches:

  • Process-oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL)
  • Problem-based learning (PBL) (see also: the Problem Library ) and working in teams .


Angelo, T.A. and Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: a handbook for college teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Aronson, E.; Blaney, N.; Stephin, C.; Sikes, J., & Snapp, M. (1978). The jigsaw classroom. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage Publishing Company Aronson, Elliot. (2000) The jigsaw classroom. Retrieved from https://www.jigsaw.org/ . Barkley, Elizabeth F., K. Patricia Cross, and Clair H. Major. (2014) Collaborative learning techniques: A handbook for college faculty. Jossey-Bass. (available online and downloadable through the UC Berkeley Library; includes adaptations for synchronous and asynchronous instruction). Brame, C. (2016). Active learning. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved March 10, 2021 from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/active-learning/ . Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., and Cocking, R.R. (Eds.) (1999). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Christensen, C.R. (1987). Teaching and the case method. Boston: Harvard Business School. Crouch, C.H. and Mazur, E. (2001). Peer instruction: ten years of experience and results. Am. Journal of Physics 69, 970-977. Eddy, S. L., & Hogan, K. A. (2014). Getting under the hood: How and for whom does increasing course structure work?. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 13(3), 453-468. Fagen, A.P., Crouch, C.H., and Mazur, E. (2002). Peer instruction: results from a range of classrooms. Physics Teacher 40, 206-209. Francek, M. (2006). Promoting Discussion in the Science Classroom Using Gallery Walks. Journal of College Science Teaching, 36(1). Francek, Mark. "What is Gallery Walk?". Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience. Retrieved March 24, 2021. Freeman, S., Eddy, S.L., McDonough, M., Smith, M.K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., and Wenderoth, M.P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111, 8410-8415. Haak, D.C., HilleRisLambers, J., Pitre, E., and Freeman, S. (2011). Increased structure and active learning reduce the achievement gap in introductory biology. Science 332, 1213–1216. Handelsman, J., Miller, S., and Pfund, C. (2007). Scientific teaching. New York: W.H. Freeman. Herreid, C.F. (1994). Case studies in science: A novel method of science education. Journal of College Science Teaching, 23(4), 221-229 Lyman, F. (1981). The responsive classroom discussions: the inclusion of all students. A. Anderson (Ed.), Mainstreaming Digest, College Park: University of Maryland Press, pp. 109-113. Millis, B. J., & Cottell Jr, P. G. (1997). Cooperative Learning for Higher Education Faculty. Series on Higher Education. Oryx Press, PO Box 33889, Phoenix, AZ 85067-3889. Nesbit, J.C. & Adesope, O.O. (2006). Learning with concept and knowledge maps: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 76(3), 413-448. Novak, J.D. and Canas, A.J. (2008). The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct and use them. Technical Report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01 Rev 2008-01 (retrieved from http://cmap.ihmc.us/docs/theory-of-concept-maps ). Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education 93, 223-231. Rivard, L. O. P. (1994). A review of writing to learn in science: Implications for practice and research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31(9), 969-983. Rowe, M.B. (1980). Pausing principles and their effects on reasoning in science. In Teaching the Sciences, edited by F. B. Brawer. New Directions for Community Colleges No. 31. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Ruhl, K., Hughes, C.A., and Schloss, P.J. (1987). Using the Pause Procedure to enhance lecture recall. Teacher Education and Special Education 10, 14-18. Smith, M. K., W. B. Wood, W. K. Adams, C. Wieman, J. K. Knight, N. Guild, and T. T. Su. (2009). “Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions.” Science, 323, 122-24. Tanner, K. D. (2012). Promoting student metacognition. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 11(2), 113-120. Theobald, E. J., Hill, M. J., Tran, E., Agrawal, S., Arroyo, E. N., Behling, S., ... & Freeman, S. (2020). Active learning narrows achievement gaps for underrepresented students in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and math. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(12), 6476-6483. Turpen, C., & Finkelstein, N. D. (2009). Not all interactive engagement is the same: Variations in physics professors’ implementation of peer instruction. Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research, 5(2), 020101. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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12 Best eLearning Courses for Employees in 2024

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Online Training & eLearning Experts

The ProProfs Training Maker Editorial Team is a diverse group of professionals passionate about online training and e-learning. We update you on the latest trends, dive into technical topics, and offer insights to elevate your business.

12 Best eLearning Courses for Employees in 2024

Being in the training industry, I’ve witnessed the power of online learning firsthand. Gone are the days of static content and inflexible schedules. Today’s learners demand engaging learning experiences that equip them with valuable skills and certifications at their own pace.

I’ve shared below a curated list of the 12 most impactful online eLearning courses .

Also, I’ll explain the benefits of eLearning and discuss some of the best eLearning tools available on the market.

What Are eLearning Courses?

“E-learning describes a set of technology-mediated methods that can be applied to support student learning and can include elements of assessment, tutoring, and instruction” ( e-Learning and Digital Learning ). 

eLearning courses are online courses that allow you to learn at your own pace and schedule. They are typically delivered through a learning management system (LMS) and can include various content, such as videos, text, quizzes, and assignments. eLearning courses can be a great way to learn new skills, update your knowledge, or earn a certificate or degree anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

12 eLearning Courses for Employees

Throughout my experience, I’ve observed that many organizations commonly incorporate the following courses for employee training.

Check out the list below:

1. Federal Sexual Harassment Training  

Between FY 2018 and FY 2021 , the EEOC received a total of 98,411 charges alleging harassment under any basis and 27,291 charges alleging sexual harassment. 

That’s why you should conduct sexual harassment training in your workplace.

ProProfs Training Maker offers an online Sexual Harassment Prevention Training course, aiding organizations in complying with federal and state regulations.

I would say this is one of the most comprehensive elearning courses that cover crucial topics like types of harassment, retaliation, and the responsibilities of supervisors. With real-life scenarios, interactive quizzes, and a self-paced learning structure, this course ensures adequate understanding and retention.

The platform also provides auto-generated reports, 24/7 support, and flexibility for employees to access courses anytime, anywhere. This online elearning course meets federal and state requirements, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, and more.

2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training  

This elearning course has been a savior for my organization. Our company has employees from different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. I noticed that some of my colleagues had conflicts and misunderstandings due to their different communication styles and assumptions.

I realized we needed to improve our diversity awareness and skills to work effectively as a team. That’s why we organized a diversity training session.

This course helped us foster a workplace that embraces diversity and equality. Expert instructor Amber Rose leads the program. The course covers fundamental concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion and offers insights into their significance and practical steps for implementation.

3. Handling Microaggressions in the Workplace  

75% of employees have reported experiencing microaggressions in the workplace.

Microaggressions can affect the mental and physical health of an individual, as well as their team dynamics and productivity. Therefore, it is crucial for organizations to recognize and address microaggressions and foster a culture of inclusion and respect for all.

This online training program, “Handling Microaggressions in the Workplace,” is designed to eradicate harmful statements and behaviors that border on microaggression.

Led by experienced psychologist and trainer Carolina Greno, the course provides a comprehensive understanding of microaggressions, offering practical strategies to prevent and address them effectively. The curriculum includes engaging elements such as handouts, case studies, scenarios, flashcards, and a final assessment.

4. How to Set SMART Goals  

If you don’t set SMART goals, you may end up with vague, unrealistic, or irrelevant goals that are hard to follow through or evaluate. You may lose motivation, direction, or accountability. You may also miss opportunities for improvement, feedback, or recognition.

Therefore, setting SMART goals can help you achieve your desired outcomes more effectively and efficiently.

This training course teaches how to set and achieve SMART goals for business success. Kristen Earp, a seasoned leadership coach and trainer, guides participants through the importance of formulating clear, concise, and relevant goals that are easy to measure and achieve.

The course covers various examples and scenarios. The final assessment in this program adds a valuable resource for those aiming for clarity of vision and focused efforts in their professional and personal lives.

5. How to Build an Ethical Work Culture

Discover the importance of fostering an ethical work culture with this course guided by James Galluzzo, a seasoned HR and leadership development consultant with over 25 years of experience.

In a PwC study , 63% of employees noted a lack of consistency between leaders’ actions and organizational values . An ethical culture, crucial for building trust, forms the foundation of successful teams.

This is one of the best elearning courses that delve into individual responsibility, the shift from individual to collective ethics, and the principles of fairness, equity, and honesty. It equips organizations with the capacity to establish and maintain an ethical work culture, attracting top talent aligned with shared values.

6. Understanding the Code of Conduct Training  

Another elearning course I would suggest is the Code of Conduct Training Course. It is designed to empower businesses to establish and reinforce behaviors expected of an individual or group.

This course guides participants through creating a model code of conduct, covering topics such as appropriate and inappropriate behavior and applying code of conduct standards to business operations.

With a structured curriculum, the course includes modules on understanding the code of conduct, its application, and methods for reviewing best practices.

7. Employee Discipline Training Course 

Employee Discipline Training Course

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics , 4.5% of employees faced disciplinary action in 2022.

This course covers a comprehensive range of topics, including common disciplinary issues, corrective actions, and best practices. Participants can assess their knowledge through quizzes at the end of each chapter.

This online training course is designed to equip management personnel with essential skills for effective workplace discipline implementation. It aims to empower them to establish efficient disciplinary or corrective procedures. If you seek an understanding of the mechanics of workplace discipline, this course is for you.

8. Manage Your Task, Time, and Stress  

According to a study by Timewatch, 91% of people agreed that better time management would reduce stress at work, 90% agreed it would increase productivity, and 82% agreed it would give them more confidence at work. 

As you can see from the above stat, it’s important to manage not just your time but also your stress levels. So, here’s a course that would help accomplish this goal.

Delivered by award-winning transformational coach David Thirumur, the course guides participants on optimizing their time, overcoming procrastination, and controlling stress triggers to maintain well-being.

The curriculum covers task, time, and stress management, offering practical insights into creating a positive work environment. With a focus on removing distractions and completing tasks efficiently, this course is ideal for individuals seeking to improve efficiency in the workplace.

9. General Data Protection Regulation Training  

GDPR training helps employees comply with data protection regulations, safeguard sensitive information, ensure privacy, and reduce the risk of data breaches and fines. By learning about the GDPR principles, rights, and obligations, employees can handle personal data better.

This online elearning course delves into the basics of GDPR, covering its origins, data protection concepts, and individuals’ rights to data. Participants will learn how to analyze situations where GDPR comes into play, manage data effectively, and report breaches.

10. Core Leadership Skills  

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” — Ralph Nader. 

That’s what this course on “Core Leadership Skills” aims to teach. Led by experienced instructor James Galluzzo, this course explores the timeless leadership skills essential for personal and professional growth. It covers emotional intelligence, communication, vision & planning, and ethical leadership.

Participants gain practical insights through a comprehensive curriculum with a course overview, worksheets, quizzes, and more. The course also provides valuable resources, including handouts and real-world scenarios.

11. Active Listening Skills  

Poor listening habits and skills affect more than 70% of all employees, resulting in misunderstandings, errors, missed opportunities, arguments, stalled projects, and damaged relationships. 

One case study that illustrates the importance of active listening in the workplace is from CHaRM HRM, a human resource management consultancy. The case study involved a manager who had to deal with a performance issue of one of his employees. The employee had been late for work several times and had missed some deadlines. The manager decided to have a meeting with the employee to address the problem and give him a warning.

The manager used active listening techniques during the meeting to understand the employee’s perspective and situation. He asked open-ended questions, paraphrased the employee’s words, and showed empathy and respect. He also gave constructive feedback and offered support and guidance. The employee felt heard and appreciated and explained that his personal issues affected his work performance. He apologized for his mistakes and agreed to improve his work habits.

The case study shows that active listening can help managers handle difficult conversations with their employees respectfully and effectively.

If you want your employees to learn this essential skill, try the Active Listening Skills course by ProProfs Training Maker.

Led by experienced instructor Amber Rose, this online elearning course provides valuable insights into understanding others at a deeper level and responding appropriately. Participants will discover the ten key active listening skills for resolving workplace conflicts and improving communication.

12. Emergency Action Plan Training 

Emergency Action Plan (EAP) training is important for every organization to prepare and respond to emergencies effectively.

I saw how EAP training helped my company when there was a fire in the warehouse. The employees knew how to evacuate safely, use fire extinguishers, and alert the authorities. They also followed the instructions of the designated emergency coordinator and reported to the assembly area. The fire was contained quickly, and no one was injured.

Emergencies can happen anytime, and you should keep your employees prepared. This 30-minute training in English and Spanish guides participants to create and implement effective emergency action plans.

The course covers the purpose of EAPs, key elements, training procedures, and essential recordkeeping. Adhering to OSHA compliance, the course offers self-paced learning accessible on various devices.

Benefits of eLearning Courses

If you are looking for a modern way to train your workforce, you might want to consider eLearning courses.  Learners can progress at their own pace and convenience, free from time or location constraints. Access to course content is available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Global connections highlight the ability to engage with peers worldwide, fostering community and collaboration. This enhances cultural awareness and facilitates feedback and support through online forums and chats.

Multimedia elements like videos, audio, and games add to the effectiveness of eLearning, engaging learners and catering to different learning styles. Plus, eLearning courses are cost-effective and eliminate expenses on books, materials, or travel.

Customization is a key feature, allowing learners to choose topics, levels, and methods that suit them. Constant access to the latest information promotes continuous learning. Tracking progress and earning certificates or badges further enhance the learning experience. Consider eLearning for a flexible, engaging, and affordable training solution.

If you are using ProProfs Training Maker to deliver your elearning courses, there are plenty of things you can enjoy:

  • White labeling
  • Mobile learning
  • Add media to your courses
  • 100+ course setting options

How to Create an E-Learning Course: 7 Easy Steps

I will guide you through a straightforward process to create an engaging e-learning course. By following these steps, you’ll develop a comprehensive understanding of the key elements necessary for crafting an effective online learning experience.

1. Identify Training Gaps

Identify Training Gaps

To ensure your course meets its objectives, start by assessing the specific skills and knowledge gaps among your learners. This process involves identifying areas where improvement is needed and aligning these needs with the broader goals of your organization.

2. Create a Course Plan

Once you’ve identified the gaps, create a detailed plan that clearly outlines the overall scope of your course, including its content, delivery methods, and evaluation criteria. In this regard, you can use course templates as they offer a readymade format and structure.

Create a Course Plan

This plan serves as a roadmap for the entire course development process, ensuring a systematic and organized approach.Once you have the plan with you, start creating your courses.

3. Incorporate Varied Learning Activities

Tailor your elearning course to cater to different learning styles, encompassing visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing preferences.

This approach ensures that each learner can engage with the material in a way that best suits their individual learning preferences.

4. Make Your Content Engaging

Enhance the presentation of information by incorporating a mix of media and formats. This could include text, images, audio, video, animations, simulations, and interactive elements. By diversifying the means of delivery, you create a more engaging and inclusive learning experience.

Employ gamification , storytelling, and scenario-based approaches to create immersive and realistic learning experiences. By appealing to emotions and individual interests, you enhance the overall effectiveness of the educational process.

5. Use an eLearning Authoring Tool 

Invest in a rapid eLearning authoring tool to streamline the course creation and editing process.

This tool allows for easy and efficient course development, ensuring a smooth and timely delivery of your course content.

6. Focus on Microlearning 

Avoid overwhelming learners by breaking down the information into manageable and meaningful chunks.

Why am I saying so?

Microlearning is 17 percent more efficient than traditional, longer-duration courses.

Maintain a focused and digestible approach rather than attempting to cover too much in one course.

7. Collect Feedback

Gather feedback from learners and stakeholders at various stages of course development.

So, how can you collect feedback?

You can collect feedback through surveys , interviews, focus groups, and observation during various stages of course development. Engage them regularly to gather insights on content relevance, effectiveness, and overall satisfaction to refine and improve the learning experience.

Use this feedback to make continuous improvements, ensuring the course remains relevant and effective.

Top 5 eLearning Course Platforms

Here are some of the best platforms you can try. I have listed the top 5 tools that our organization has tried out.

1. ProProfs Training Maker – Best for Employee Training 

ProProfs TM LMS

My organization used ProProfs Training Maker as our primary learning management system . Not only did it allow us to create courses and integrate quizzes and surveys, but it also enabled real-time progress tracking and provided insightful LMS reports on course engagement levels and learners’ involvement.

We benefited from its capability to use existing training materials such as docs, images, videos, and presentations. Furthermore, the tool allowed us to create learner groups and sub-groups, assigning different roles and permissions based on group, team, department, and location.

Its features, including due-date reminders, gamification, a Q&A community , learning paths, and a library of customizable courses and templates designed by experts, greatly streamlined our training processes.

Forever free plan (up to 10 learners). Paid plan starts at $1.97/learner/month for large teams. No hidden charges. 15-day money-back guarantee.

2. Udemy – Best for Video Courses 


Udemy serves as a top-tier online learning platform for both businesses and students, offering a diverse array of courses on various subjects. It operates as a massive open online course (MOOC) platform that enables instructors to create engaging content using images, videos, PDFs, ZIP files, and live classes.

The process of creating a course on any platform demands time and effort, but Udemy excels in simplifying it, especially for new instructors. Udemy provides learners with engaging and comprehensive video courses catering to diverse interests and skill levels. From programming to photography, business to personal development, Udemy’s video courses empower individuals to learn at their own pace and achieve their goals effectively.

Udemy has forged partnerships with popular niche content sites to aid instructors in promoting their courses. Its stringent course quality checklist ensures that courses maintain a professional standard, are marketable, and deliver a superior learning experience.

Starts at $30/month/user. Access to 11,000+ top courses. Certification prep for 200+ exams.

3. Teachable – Best for Selling Digital Downloads  


Teachable offers a versatile platform for creators to monetize their expertise through digital downloads. With an intuitive interface, it simplifies the process of selling ebooks, audio files, templates, and more.

Creators can quickly upload content, customize product details, and start generating revenue. The tool provides resources and support to help creators maximize their sales potential. Whether supplementing existing products or diversifying income streams, Teachable empowers creators to reach a wider audience and boost their earnings effortlessly.

Join the thriving community of over 100,000 creators and unleash the potential of digital downloads with Teachable.

Starts at $0/month ($1 + 10% transaction fee). Paid plans start at $39/month. 5 published products of each type. 1 membership tier.

4. Thinkific – Best for Marketing and Selling Courses


Thinkific serves as the top choice for educators aiming to monetize their expertise through online course sales. This platform distinguishes itself by providing a suite of tools specifically for educators, enabling them to create, market, and sell courses with ease.

The platform assists educators in raising awareness through promotional tools. Thinkific’s integrated marketing toolkit allows educators to focus more on their passion—teaching and creating impactful content—while reducing time spent on administrative tasks.

Moreover, with the launch of TCommerce, Thinkific enhances its capabilities significantly. This feature boosts the platform’s functionality by automating administrative tasks and offering advanced selling tools designed to increase course sales by up to 50%.

Free plan available (Limited to one course). Paid plan starts at $36/month. 5 spaces per community. 1 administrator.

5. Coursera – Best for Obtaining Online Certificates  


My organization often uses Coursera to obtain elearning certificates to ensure our team members are at the forefront of their respective fields. This platform stands out for its comprehensive range of courses and specializations offered in partnership with leading universities and companies worldwide.

It enables our employees to gain new skills, stay updated with industry trends, and earn certifications that are recognized globally, all while balancing their work commitments. The flexibility of learning at their own pace, coupled with access to a vast library of resources, interactive assignments, and peer feedback mechanisms, makes Coursera an invaluable tool for professional development.

Whether it’s enhancing technical know-how, diving into data analysis, or mastering project management, Coursera offers tailored learning paths that align with our organization’s goals and employees’ career aspirations.

Starts at $399/user/year. Access to nearly 200,000 clips. 4,000+ courses with 55+ professional elearning certification courses.

If you want to know more about online learning platforms .

How to Choose the Right eLearning Course

Choosing the right online eLearning course can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, right?

But here are some easy ways to find the right courses.

First, consider what skills or knowledge you want your employees to learn . Is it to improve their work, learn something new, or improve at certain tasks?

Next, check if the course is from a reliable source . Choose courses from well-known providers. Also, see what other trainers say about the course. Their opinions can help a lot.

Think about how the course fits with your training schedule . Is it too long or just right?

And finally, consider the price . Some free elearning courses are good but paying might get you more detailed information.

Also, if you are looking for ways to choose an online course platform , here’s a video:

Ready to Deliver eLearning Courses?

As you’ve seen, eLearning has evolved far beyond static content and rigid schedules. It’s now a dynamic landscape offering engaging, accessible experiences that equip you with valuable skills and recognized certifications.

Take the first step today! With the vast array of courses and platforms available, you will find the perfect fit for your needs and learning style.

Remember, the key is to identify your goals, research reputable courses, and embrace the flexibility and convenience that eLearning offers.

ProProfs Editorial Team

About the author

Proprofs editorial team.

The ProProfs Training Maker Editorial Team is a passionate group of eLearning experts dedicated to empowering your learning experiences with top-notch training content. We stay ahead of the curve on trends, tackle technical hurdles, and provide practical tips to boost your business. With our commitment to quality and integrity, you can be confident you're getting the most reliable resources to enhance your training initiatives.

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Distance Education and E-Learning Assignment.pdf

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Related Papers

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E-learning is an innovative approach for delivering electronically mediated, well-designed, learnercentered and interactive learning environments to anyone, anyplace, anytime by utilizing the internet and digital technologies in concern with instructional design principles. It is all about learning with the use of computers. In this age, learning with the use of computer is simply online ways of acquiring knowledge through the internet or through the offline. In Nigerian schools, the commonest type of elearning adopted is in form of lectures note on CD-ROM which can be played as at when the learners desires. Though most of the educational institutions (private and public) have started setting up their ICT centers for internet services alone without actually taking into consideration other components of e-learning center, types of E-learning include Computer Managed Learning (CML), Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI), Synchronous Online Learning, Asynchronous Online Learning, Fixed E-Learning etc. advantage of E-learning are one is able to link the various resources in several varying formats. It is a very efficient way of delivering courses online, due to its convenience and flexibility; the resources are available from anywhere and at any time. Disadvantage include online student feedback is limited, E-Learning can cause social Isolation, E-Learning requires strong self-motivation and time management skills, Lack of communicational skill development in online students, Cheating prevention during online assessments is complicated etc and benefits of e-learning to students are online learning accommodates everyone"s needs, lectures can be taken any number of times, offers access to updated content etc. in conclusion the flexibility offered by e-learning in terms of place of learning and time of learning means that the whole educational programmes can be rolled out across teams all over the world.

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This article examines the distinct differences between ‘distance education’ and ‘e-learning’ in higher education settings. Since the emergence of the new information and communication technologies (ICT), many have related to them as the new generation of distance education, and some have referred to their implementation in academia as challenging the very existence of campus-based universities. Many policy makers, scholars and practitioners in higher education use these two terms interchangeably as synonyms. But the fact is that distance education in most higher education systems is not delivered through the new electronic media, and vice versa – e-learning in most universities and colleges all over the world is not used for distance education purposes. ‘Distance education’ and ‘e-learning’ do overlap in some cases, but are by no means identical. The lack of distinction between ‘e-learning’ and ‘distance education’ accounts for much of the misunderstanding of the ICT roles in higher education, and for the wide gap between the rhetoric in the literature describing the future sweeping effects of the ICT on educational environments and their actual implementation. The article examines the erroneous assumptions on which many exaggerated predictions as to the future impact of the ICT were based upon, and it concludes with highlighting the future trends of ‘distance education’ and ‘e-learning’ in academia.

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Abstract. This article examines the distinct differences between ‘distance education ’ and ‘e-learning ’ in higher education settings. Since the emergence of the new information and communication technologies (ICT), many have related to them as the new generation of distance education, and some have referred to their implementation in academia as challenging the very existence of campus-based universities. Many policy makers, scholars and practitioners in higher education use these two terms interchangeably as synonyms. But the fact is that distance education in most higher education systems is not delivered through the new electronic media, and vice versa – e-learning in most univer-sities and colleges all over the world is not used for distance education purposes. ‘Dis-tance education ’ and ‘e-learning ’ do overlap in some cases, but are by no means identical. The lack of distinction between ‘e-learning ’ and ‘distance education ’ accounts for much of the misunderstanding of the I...

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eLearning Support and Resources

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  • eAssignments student guides

eAssignments: How to submit to or view upcoming assignments

Login to submit.assignments.

The URL for the submit site is as follows


Log in with your University log on credentials. More information can be found here .

How to find your assignment

Upon logging in, you will be directed to the “Upcoming/Open” tab of the “My Assignments” page, where you will find a table displaying all the assignments assigned to you that are currently open, possible to re-submit to and have not yet reached their submission deadline.

You can find the assignment you need to submit to by referring to the module code, assignment title, and submission date.

The Assignment Overview page

By clicking on the assignment title you will be taken to the assignment overview page

e learning assignments

The overview page provides comprehensive details regarding the assignment, including its current status, important dates, instructions, expected files, any pre or post-submission questions, and the marking criteria.

You can also start the submission from here by selecting the submit button found in the top right of the screen.

e learning assignments

How to submit in eAssignments

In the “Upcoming/Open” tab look for the “State” column and select the submit button to start your submission.

Alternativley you can use the Submit button found on the overview page

screen grab of table highlighting a submit button

Read and check the tick box to confirm you have read the declaration.

screen grab of table highlighting a check box that when checked means you agree to the academic integrity

You can upload files by either dragging and dropping them into the “Drop files here or press to upload” zone or by simply clicking on the same area to browse your computer’s files. If more files are allowed or expected they will have their own drop box area.

Required files are denoted with an asterisk (*) below their title. You will not be able to continue until all mandatory files have been received.

e learning assignments

After your file(s) are received, their titles will be displayed and clickable for downloading. You can also use the delete button to change your file before finalising your submission.

Select the check box to confirm that you are happy that you have uploaded the correct file(s) and you will be taken to the next step.

e learning assignments

Before you click the “Finalise Submission” button, it’s a good idea to double-check the files you’ve uploaded. Occasionally, files converted to Microsoft Office formats (From Pages, Open Office, Libre Office etc) may become corrupted during conversion. Make sure they can be opened on Windows or Mac computers with MS Office products. If you don’t have access to Windows or Mac PCs, you can use the University’s Virtual Environment for compatibility testing. Taking a moment to ensure file compatibility can help avoid potential issues.

The previous steps are still available before finalising, to view their contents select the plus symbol (+). Pressing the button titled “Finalise Submission” will complete the submission process for this assignment.

e learning assignments

You will be shown confirmation that the submission has been received.

e learning assignments

You will also receive an email to confirm the receipt of your submission.

How to re-submit in eAssignments

Re-submissions are only accessible if this feature has been enabled explicitly for individual assignments. You can contact student services through the student Hub if you have any questions about this.

On the “Upcoming/Open” tab of the “My Assignments” page you will find a table displaying all the assignments assigned to you that are currently open, possible to re-submit to and have not yet reached their submission deadline.

Locate the assignment and look for and select the Re-Submit button in the State column.

e learning assignments

Select the button titled “Re-Open for resubmission”.

e learning assignments

Note the message at the top of the screen.

When your submission is reopened, it stays unfinalised until you complete the finalisation process once more. It is crucial to remember that failing to finalise your submission will result in the assignment not being considered as submitted.

To open the file selector in the “Upload Submission Files” section, simply click on the plus symbol (+).

e learning assignments

You can now delete and replace any files that you wish to re-submit.

e learning assignments

When you’re ready, select the plus symbol (+) in the “Finalise Submissions” section to display the “Finalise Submission” button. Press the button to finalise your submission.

e learning assignments

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Blended and Distance Learning with General Assignment Classrooms

Discover how UW’s advanced classroom technology can enhance your teaching experience. Upper campus has 91 general assignment classrooms designed to support blended and distance learning, along with lecture capture capabilities. While our primary solution is Panopto, instructors also have the flexibility to use Zoom for their teaching needs.

With Panopto and Zoom, you can seamlessly record lectures or conduct live streams directly from your laptop in the classroom. Choose your preferred sources and start capturing valuable content, whether you’re engaging with a remote audience or teaching in person. Once recorded, easily share your content on Canvas, our integrated learning management system.

Teachers and TAs can leverage Zoom’s cloud recording feature to share class meetings directly with students through the Zoom App in Canvas. Plus, the Zoom recordings can automatically migrate into Panopto for added convenience. Panopto recordings can then be shared within Canvas or accessed through the Panopto platform. For more information on which service best suits your needs head over to https://itconnect.uw.edu/tools-services-support/teaching-learning/panopto/panopto-or-zoom/ to learn more about Panopto, Zoom and its integration with Canvas.

Ready to explore these powerful tools further?

Contact Academic Technology today to schedule a consultation in our Kane Hall demo room and unlock the full potential of Panopto and Zoom for your classroom sessions. Email us at [email protected] or call Academic Technologies at (206) 221-5000 extension 2.


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    An LMS can offer a range of features that support eLearning. Here are a few common features that drive impact: Course creation and management: Educators can design and craft engaging learning experiences within their courses, modules, and assignments. Tracking and analytics: Educators and students can track performance and progress.

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    After creating your assignments, go back to your learning objectives and make sure there is still a good match between what you want students to learn and what you are asking them to do. If you find a mismatch, you will need to adjust either the assignments or the learning objectives. For instance, if your goal is for students to be able to ...

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    Challenges of eLearning. In an era of ubiquitous online learning availability, delivering efficacious eLearning requires overcoming many current and emerging challenges (Allen & Seaman, Citation 2013; Khazanchi et al., Citation 2015; Bashir et al., Citation 2021; Lockee, Citation 2021).Following is a summary of some of the challenges of eLearning from a priori literature and our own personal ...

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    4. Assessing Learners as They Play: Gamification Still Works. Another one of the more popular eLearning assessment examples is gamification. In a learning environment, a game provides enjoyment, challenge, and opportunity. In games, anything the learner does has a consequence; therefore, games can become a valuable and experiential tool.

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    Linear E-Learning. 8. Interactive Online Learning. 9. Individual Online Learning. 10. Collaborative Online Learning. Before we look at these ten categories, it's worth considering a reasonably common view among educational scientists who choose to classify e-learning types more simply. They identify two primary types of e-learning: computer ...

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    The platform also provides auto-generated reports, 24/7 support, and flexibility for employees to access courses anytime, anywhere. This online elearning course meets federal and state requirements, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, and more. Get This Course. 2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training.

  21. The Efficiency of Online Assignments as an Asynchronous e-Learning Tool

    Indeed, one of the advantages of asynchronous e-assignments is learning anytime, anywhere. For this, the. in -hand paper seeks to focus on online assignments and their efficiency to university EFL ...

  22. Distance Education and E-Learning Assignment.pdf

    E-learning is an innovative approach for delivering electronically mediated, well-designed, learnercentered and interactive learning environments to anyone, anyplace, anytime by utilizing the internet and digital technologies in concern with instructional design principles. It is all about learning with the use of computers.

  23. eAssignments: How to submit to or view upcoming assignments

    In the "Upcoming/Open" tab look for the "State" column and select the submit button to start your submission. Alternativley you can use the Submit button found on the overview page. Read and check the tick box to confirm you have read the declaration. You can upload files by either dragging and dropping them into the "Drop files here ...

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  25. Blended and Distance Learning with General Assignment Classrooms

    Discover how UW's advanced classroom technology can enhance your teaching experience. Upper campus has 91 general assignment classrooms designed to support blended and distance learning, along with lecture capture capabilities. While our primary solution is Panopto, instructors also have the flexibility to use Zoom for their teaching needs.