Questioning Your Learning Design

If you follow my blog, you know that the past few weeks I have been participating in a MOOC on blended learning design. This week wraps up the course with a focus on quality assurance.

icon-354007_1280Here is the thing about QA in blended learning: there’s no real set standard. That said, I think the most important standards are the same for all courses whether online, blended, or face-to-face. The implementation may be different but the student experience should be the same. Below are some questions you can use for self-evaluation of your course. The first four sets can be used for any class. The last set is geared towards classes with an online component.


  • Do students have opportunities to interact with and reflect on the content?
  • Do students have opportunities to interact with their peers?
  • Do students have opportunities to interact with the instructor?

Active learning

  • Are students an active part of the learning process?
  • Are students required to do something other than listen/read in order to learn?
  • Do students need to use higher order thinking skills (application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation)?


  • Are there opportunities for both formal and informal assessments?
  • Are assessments given regularly throughout the course?
  • Do students receive feedback after each assessment?


  • Does feedback to students provide specifics on what was done well or poorly?
  • Is there a reasonable and stated timeframe within which students should receive feedback after an assignment?
  • Is feedback given regularly throughout the course?
  • Are students required to give feedback to each other through activities like discussion and peer grading?


  • Is the course highly organized with a clear set of assignments each week, listed due dates, and thorough instructions?
  • Is there a plan for regular and deliberate communication with students outside of the face-to-face sessions?
  • How are the online and face-to-face sessions integrated so the course feels cohesive?
  • Are all materials accessible and 508 compliant?

This might seem like a lot, but remember that there are huge benefits to online and hybrid learning experiences. Students really appreciate the flexibility and support that these courses offer, often at a reduced cost compared to face-to-face options.

BlendKit offers some great resources for blended learning QA that can help you at any stage of the process, including:

If you need extra support designing or implementing your course, talk to an instructional designer (like me!) or check out some of the many resources offered on the subject including:

And most of all, don’t forget to have fun!

Questions? Comments? Leave them below!

This is my final post about blended learning as I work my way through this MOOC.

For more, check out my previous posts on blended learning and my series on flipped learning:

Blended Learning Basics


This spring I am participating in a MOOC about blended learning design. It’s something I am required to do for my new job, but also something in which I have a distinct interest as an instructional designer that works heavily in eLearning. I have done some research on the flipped classroom (which is one particular way to blend a course) but this will be a broader look.

As part of the course I will be blogging here about some of the topics we discuss. This first week is really just about what blended, or hybrid, learning is. This is a more complicated topic than it might seem as there are lots of different ideas floating around about what constitutes blended learning.

First, let’s be clear on what blended is not.
It is not:

  • Video lectures instead of classroom lectures
  • Doing routine type of homework in class
  • Simply moving half of your assignments to an online platform
  • Meeting via a web conferencing tool instead of in a classroom
  • Showcasing your new fancy technology

So, then, what is it?
Blended learning:

  • allows you to replace parts of a course that were checkbox-303113_1280traditionally face-to-face with online (asynchronous) learning components
  • means you do the above in a way that uses technology wisely
  • is meant to create a richer learning experience
  • offers benefits of face-to-face instruction (personal interaction,
    ability to use a lab, proctored exams, etc.)
  • offers benefits of online learning (convenience, new opportunities for student engagement, reduced need for classroom space, etc.)
  • allows students to interact with the content, the instructor, and each other

The key to blended learning is to decide what method is best used to achieve your learning goals and then make sure you present a coherent course by tying together the online and face-to-face sessions.

How do I get started?

  1. First, you need to map out your course. If this is a course you have done before, you can start with your course outline and learning objectives. This course blueprint is a great resource to help you map out this information.
  2. The next step is to decide what should go online and what should be done in a classroom. This mix-map can help you. (Here is a completed example.) Just remember that the online and face-to-face parts should support and complement each other – don’t relegate any topic to one particular realm!

If you’re interested in learning more, I would encourage you to sign up for this MOOC or a similar one. Feel free to also follow this blog series as I will be posting summaries of important information each week, including resources that can help you blend any course. Next week: types of blended learning interactions.

Questions? Comments? Leave them below!