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Instructional Methods Used for Online Courses

Pursuing a university education or short-term courses in the past required you to leave your job or put other things in your life on hold for a while. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Through an online course, you can now pursue your education with minimal disturbance to other aspects of your life. The classes are also cheaper compared to traditional ones, and the qualifications are recognized as long as you pursue them from an accredited school.

Most people are apprehensive about online education courses because of the lack of physical student-teacher interaction. However, online courses have different instructional methods that still deliver the content with similar efficiency to traditional classes. The only disparity between a conventional and online class lies in the content delivery method. Here are the instructional methods used in online courses:


These are perhaps the most commonly used instructional strategy for online courses. The lectures will transmit the required content, spark your interest, and promote your comprehension. They can be delivered through a live video or recorded format. In both lecture formats, the student has a passive role, and this might have a negative impact on his or her engagement. Lectures are generally used with other strategies to prevent this phenomenon.


These allow students to participate in the classes actively. Discussions take place over different online platforms and include different students who can ask questions and exchange ideas while practicing their cognitive and analytical skills. Online discussions have been proven by several studies to be more fruitful compared to traditional ones since they offer a comfortable platform for even shy students to express themselves.


These are the mainstay instructional method for technical courses but are useful in virtually all classes. Demonstrations include recorded videos that might run independently or at the same time with lectures. Most of these videos can be uploaded and reviewed later for better comprehension of the concepts.


Group of students studying outdoorsThese are designed to allow you to test your practical skills and knowledge. They prepare you for fieldwork, which is traditionally done in face-to-face settings. For instance, online students in medical-related courses might have simulations for dissections. Learning through simulations was once dull and tedious, but thanks technology, they are now exciting. Some universities also have games that work like the simulations and allow you to gain practical experience in a digital environment.

Problem-based Projects

These are designed to allow students to apply the knowledge that they have acquired to solve different problems. Project-based learning is collaborative, and the lecturer has an advisory role rather than an authoritative one. It usually involves small-group forums and chats to solve the problems. Guided design learning is a variation of program-based learning that requires resolving different issues in your local community rather than online.

With the given instructional methods, you can guarantee that an online course will be as effective in imparting knowledge as a traditional class. Nonetheless, success in an online course requires commitment and discipline. You should have a dedicated timeframe for attending your classes.

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