A good online course is properly paced:

For students

Students who take online courses often have very full lives.   Many are working adults who have jobs and families in addition to their learning efforts.   They cannot spend too much time on learning, and need to be able to pace their learning efforts somewhat evenly over the week.   The courses must be structured to permit this.   The failure to structure online courses for the pace that students can maintain is a key reason for drop-outs in online courses.  Hence, online courses must be designed with their likely student participants in mind.   For some learner groups the pacing should be more rapid; for others, slower.  For some learner groups there are times of the year that are busier; in those times the pacing of the course should be slower.   These comments apply, of course, to instructor -led courses.   For self-paced courses, the pacing is determined by the learner.

For instructors

Online courses require considerable effort by instructors.   There is material to be presented;  inquiries from students to answer; projects to review; exams to be graded.   Instructors have often complained that online teaching requires more time and effort than classroom teaching.    And to top it all off, instructors often have multiple courses to teach – sometimes both classroom and online courses simultaneously.   It is therefore very important that online courses be paced so that instructors can manage their time properly and are not overworked by the requirements placed on them.  When there is a single instructor for an online course, she or he can largely determine the pacing of the course. When there are multiple instructors – for example, a lead instructor and teaching assistants – then the pacing of the course itself becomes more significant.

Pacing is determined by the sequence of materials of varying degrees of difficulty, and by the spacing, or availability, of assessments, projects and team efforts.  It is possible to front-load a course with difficult and time-consuming assignments; to back-load a course in a similar way; or to spread more time-consuming assignments evenly throughout the course.   Assignments can also be varied in requirements placed on learners and instructors within each month and week of the course.  Proper pacing should consider the schedule requirements of learners and instructors and also the mode of learning of students.


MindEdge offers self-paced courses and simulations in project management. Our courses are designed to engage and inform!

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