6 Course Design Strategies for Online Learning

Neha Uddin
Students listening to a teacher explain the lesson in a class

Course design strategies for online learning are guidelines for effectively designing and facilitating eLearning and online classes. As you know, teaching and learning online can be challenging, even for experienced instructors. In a traditional teacher-centered classroom, instructors control how information is dispersed and shared. In an online course, however, students have access to vast amounts of data and information resources that they can look into on their own time and device.  

Similarly, each student has a unique learning style. Manu also learns through a combination of techniques. As such, online educators should design courses that include multiple learning modes.

Likewise, to engage students efficiently, teachers should also consider online course design best practices. Here are six course design strategies for online learning that instructors should use to build a successful lesson.

Develop a Clear and Consistent Structure

PNG image of a book and a pencil, highlihting the need of creating a clear course design strategy for online learning for teachersTo create an inviting online environment, courses should have a clear and consistent structure, with intuitive navigation. The best way to do so is to ensure each course module has the same navigation structure. The location of assignments, tasks, reading materials, collaborative opportunities, and so forth, should be in the same format and location. Each module should also look like the previous, with updated content and learning goals. 

Utilize Microlearning 

Microlearning is the process of presenting content through small mediated learning units. One such effective microlearning strategy is ‘backward planning’. In this strategy, teachers consider all learning materials and identify themes, called ‘units’. Within the unit, teachers can then provide tasks, assignments, and resources.  

Know Your Students

PNG image of a teacher pointing at the board, highlighting the course design strategy for online learningBefore designing lesson plans, teachers must understand students’ capabilities and learning styles. After all, younger students generally prefer bite-size lessons with interactive tools and group activities. On the other hand, older students may prefer teachers giving lessons through lecture formats. By effectively evaluating the course plan based on students, teachers can apply the best learning strategies.

Make Interactive Lessons

Teachers have many tools at their disposal when deciding on course design best practices. From audio clips or videos to live quizzes and games, interactive classes are far better for student engagement than un-interactive ones. Moreover, videos also add a dynamic element to the lessons. Likewise, visual contents also boost information retention. Live quizzes also similarly enable teachers to assess student understanding in real-time. 

Incorporate Synchronous and Asynchronous eLearning Styles

PNG image of a webinar in session, highlighting the course design strategy for online learningSynchronous learning happens in real-time, with the teacher leading the discussion. In like manner, synchronous eLearning is also this same concept but taught online. Asynchronous learning, on the other hand, is when students learn on their own time at their own pace.

In order to disseminate content to large numbers of students at the same time, teachers can create asynchronous eLearning content. After all, the flexibility and convenience of independent, remote learning makes asynchronous eLearning an essential part of the overall design strategy for online learning.  

Make Content Easily Accessible

In order to construct a successful online learning course, teachers should make the layouts and individual content pages clear, concise, and decluttered. Students should be able to find resources easily. Likewise, content should also be simple to download.

It is crucial that files pulled from online platforms are also compatible, so students can open them easily. Similarly, instructors should also avoid proprietary formats where students are forced to download a specific program to open and view content. Furthermore, content should also be compatible with most, if not all, electronic devices that students use.   


Through online learning, teachers can facilitate courses to achieve specific learning goals. Strategies plan for, and make the best use of, the online environment. While some instructional strategies are likely to be similar for each setting, how teachers utilize the methods will differ according to the characteristics and capacities of each environment.

Fuse Classroom is an AI-enabled all-inclusive online education platform by Fusemachines, featuring online-live classroom experiences and tutoring, student-progress tracking, interactive online learning, and data-driven methods for an easy, effective, and optimized online learning experience. Learn more about Fuse Classroom in our About section.