Online learning is booming, and for good reasons. It offers flexibility, convenience, affordability, and personalization for learners who want to acquire new skills and knowledge. However, online learning also comes with some challenges, such as learner motivation, retention, and completion. How can you ensure that your online learners stay engaged, motivated, and committed to completing your courses?
One of the most effective ways to overcome these challenges is to create learning pathways for your online courses. Learning pathways are structured sequences of learning activities that guide learners from their current level of knowledge and skills to their desired learning outcomes.
Learning pathways can be classified into two main types: linear and branched.
Linear learning pathways are the simplest and most common type of learning pathways. They consist of a series of learning activities that learners have to complete in a fixed order, from start to finish. Linear learning pathways are suitable for courses that have a clear and sequential structure, such as:
- Courses that teach foundational or prerequisite knowledge and skills
- Courses that follow a step-by-step process or procedure
- Courses that have a single or specific learning outcome or goal
Branched learning pathways are more complex and flexible than linear learning pathways. They consist of multiple learning paths that learners can choose from, depending on their needs, preferences, and performance. Branched learning pathways are suitable for courses that have a diverse and dynamic structure, such as:
- Courses that teach advanced or specialized knowledge and skills
- Courses that offer different levels of difficulty or complexity
- Courses that have multiple or varied learning outcomes or goals
Both types of learning pathways have their own benefits and drawbacks, and you can use them separately or combine them to create hybrid learning pathways for your online courses. The main benefits of learning pathways are:
- They provide a clear and coherent learning journey for your learners, which can increase their motivation, engagement, and retention
- They allow you to tailor your course content and delivery to the needs and expectations of your learners, which can enhance their learning experience and satisfaction
- They enable you to measure and evaluate the learning progress and achievements of your learners, which can improve your course quality and effectiveness
- They help you to showcase your course value and credibility to your learners and potential customers, which can boost your course reputation and revenue