Designing the learning environment

Making an effective learning environment

1. Communicate the learning goals

The most important element in any learning environment is an intangible one--its purpose or learning goals. The learning goals need to be clear to the learners. Intentional learning--learning with a goal in mind--is usually the most effective and engaging kind of learning.

The most direct way to communicate the learning goals is to state them directly in a Page or Book, but you can also reinforce them with other resources and activities. Consider organising your course by the learning goals, for example, using them to determine the Sections of the course. Consider discussing the course goals in an opening Forum message. Also consider providing a pre-course Questionnaire or Quiz that previews the ideas and skills that will be learned (as well as helping you better understand the level of the participants).

Learning goals are often stated as Learning Outcomes, and written as what the learner will be able to do after the course with the skills and background knowledge gained. A course should provide practice and assessment of these outcomes.