One of the common questions we get is whether an online course is a fancy version of a PowerPoint presentation. Unfortunately it isn't; and for all intents and purposes tools that claim they can transform PPT's into online trainings are misleading or at best partial truths. For an online course to be effective it has to present the knowledge in ways that are encompassing (knowledge transfer), compelling (multi-media), engaging (interactive), globalized, and of course technically feasible (bandwidth). Let's look at each of these in a bit more detail:
An online course needs to be pedagogically encompassing so as to compensate for the absence of an instructor. Messaging should be concise, clear, and extensible or hyperlinked to more notes and more resources. The trick though is doing all this without the content becoming too exhaustive to the viewer.
The content of an online course needs to be compelling utilizing multi-media such as animation, audio, and video. The usage of multi-media, however, needs to be balanced with bandwidth limitations. Utilizing state of the art technologies such as Silverlight and Flash and online learning standards such as SCORM, allows us to present our clients with a variety of choices to choose from.
In an Internet age, the challenge to many content providers is to attract and maintain viewers . The same principle applies to online courses. Online courses need to maintain interactivity so as to keep viewers engaged and interested. In addition to enriching the viewer experience, online courses need to get the timing of the course right.
The technical feasibility of online courses makes sure issues such as standards, bandwidth, Learning Management System compatibility, etc... are dealt with in advance of development to avoid costly development mistakes. Occasionally, trade-offs need to be made to meet client needs and restrictions (for example multi-media such as video versus limited bandwidth).
The value of online courses in some cases depends on its global proliferation (The more a course is accessed worldwide, the more it can be monetized). Unfortunately the world does not communicate in one unique language. For this purpose, TidWiT has integrated into its online development process multi-lingual localization, which you may access information about here.
TidWiT is proud to have met the online course needs of many clients worldwide. Here are a couple of recent samples provided courtesy of some online courses developed for Microsoft for their Office 2010 worldwide launch