How Do We Design Inspiring Online Vocational Courses?
PCF5 Sub-theme: Cross-cutting Themes // There are many in the education and training sector who continue to be pessimistic about the effectiveness of e-learning for vocational education and training, and it is with good reason. Packaged course content and hyperlinked text, all masquerading as “learning experiences”, go some way toward explaining the continuing frustrations. So what are the reasons for this ongoing “poor perception” of the effectiveness of e-learning and why don’t we seem to be learning from the issues raised? // Research on adult distance learning and the factors that make for successful learning design is abundantly available (Mayes & de Freitas, 2007). However, we don’t see these theories being employed significantly by instructional designers in e-learning courseware. In this paper we explore some of the key reasons why we think e-learning often isn’t working for vocational adult education. These reasons include: the focus on content rather than on authentic contextualised activities, which support the development of practical “real-life” skills; the failure to design good online facilitation to support collaborative online team work; uninspiring learning experiences; and a lack of good scaffolding to support and orient learners in their learning journey. // We suggest that a continuing gap in online adult education is the lack of good instructional design guidelines that focus on the pedagogy and are meaningful to an educational or training practitioner. We invite the reader to consider six simple design principles based on our synthesis of good practice in the available literature and on the authors’ experiences in designing and facilitating e-learning for adult learners. // Paper ID 577