Backward Design is Even More Critical in Online Learning

Empiricism – this blog – builds upon three foundational principles for designing effective and engaging online learning experiences. To quickly recap, those principles are: Focus on outcomes, not inputs.  Meet learners where they are, not where you want them to be.  Design learning experiences based on how people learn, not how you want them to … Continue Reading

Has Udacity Lost Its Way?

I am a big fan of Udacity. I’ve learned a lot from Udacity over the years, having taken several of the company’s courses and Nanodegrees. However, my most recent experience with Udacity was far from ideal. My experience shows how hard it is to maintain quality online courses, particularly in the fast-moving fields that are … Continue Reading

What Really Makes Teaching Online Unique?

Online education is often framed in terms of its potential for scale. But what if we’re thinking about that all wrong? Learners have high expectations in online settings: if something isn’t engaging or isn’t working, they are all too ready to give up or drop out. It takes a lot of work to create excellent … Continue Reading

How to Maximize Your Learning With Duolingo

I first signed up for Duolingo in 2016, but I really started to use it regularly over the last year. To me, it is a rare example of an EdTech business that has a clear social mission and actually delivers on that mission, even as it steadily grows in users and valuation – it’s a … Continue Reading

Two Ways to Focus on Meeting Learners Where They Are

In my first post, I outlined three principles you can use to guide your organization to make better decisions about its online learning initiatives. To quickly recap, here are the principles. Focus on outcomes, not inputs. Meet learners where they are, not where you want them to be.  Design learning experiences based on how people … Continue Reading

The Three Simple Principles of Empiricism

Welcome to my first entry in Enact Academy’s new blog, Empiricism. My goal here is to share a framework for using evidence and reason to design better learning experiences, with a particular focus on online learning.  Many of our mental models of teaching seem to presume the conveyance and delivery of information. Knowledge is passed, … Continue Reading