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Content Development and Delivery

Content Development and Delivery

Considerations for content development and delivery include the medium of delivery, intentional design, and style, among other things. And knowledge of your audience should influence the choices you make. What are your objectives? Can students offer input for the determination of those objectives? What kinds of experiences will you include for learners? Will you incorporate metacognitive activities? How will you know your students are understanding your material? Is the content accessible to all learners? Is it interactive? Engaging? Flexible? There is much to ponder.

High-quality courses are grounded in a comprehensive understanding of learning and teaching practices and a willingness to engage students with authentic content. We’re here to help; read on:

Research and practical articles

  • Brown, P., Roedinger, H., & McDaniel, M. (2014). Make it stick: The science of successful learning. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press.
  • Burns, M. (2017). Designing Effective Online Courses: 10 Considerations. Retrieved from
  • Darby, F. & Lang, J. (2019). Small teaching online. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Park, J. Y. (2011). Design education online: Learning delivery and evaluation. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 30(2), 176-187. Doi:10.1111/j.1476-8070.2011.01689.x

Using Chunking to Develop Content for an Online Course

Text = how to chunk content

Credit: © Penn State is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

The concept of chunking is the act of breaking course content into small, meaningful units of information that can be digested and navigated easily. The information in each chunk should be related, logical, meaningful, and organized sequentially (Shank, 2018). Research tells us that there are several reasons to chunk content when writing instructional text, including:

Using Frameworks to Develop Content for a Course 

many lines coming together into 3 main categories

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Creating high-quality, pedagogically sound content is challenging whether a course is taught in-person, online, or using a hybrid method. In course development, a framework refers to a structured and organized approach used to design, plan, and develop course content. Frameworks also provide learning designers and faculty with a blueprint for creating a coherent and effective learning experience for students (Reigeluth, C. M., & Carr-Chellman, A. A., 2009).

Feedback Loops and Formative Assessment: Gathering Feedback from Students about the Effectiveness of Your Course

Feedback = idea, response, opinion, survey, comment, rating, result, advice

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Don’t wait for formal evaluations to find out what your students are thinking and how they feel. A recent study by Jonas Flodén (2017) notes that “Student feedback pushes teaching choices … toward more student-teacher interaction” (Discussion section, para. 3). Findings like this illustrate the demand for more connection.

Supporting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging 


Credit: Wildflowers from Pixabay is licensed under CC0.

Creating an inclusive teaching environment takes effort and dedication. Truly inclusive instructors do more than incorporate a friendly tone; they take responsibility for creating a welcoming environment, develop courses that are inclusive, and “change their teaching based on evidence about practices that support and challenge all students to thrive” (Addy, et al., 2021).

Using Constructivism to Help Students Build New Knowledge

cartoon brain with construction workers standing on it as though they are about to begin a building project

 Credit: © Amy Waters / Adobe Stock

Constructivist theories assert that to develop understanding and build new knowledge, learners must be actively engaged in seeking knowledge and information, not passively taking it in (Bada, 2018). As learners encounter the world around them, they build knowledge and integrate it into their existing personal knowledge base, also known as a schema.

Employing Microlearning with the Intention to Build Skills 

Fast & Short, One Learning Objective, Mobile-Friendly, Different types of media

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Microlearning is an educational strategy wherein an educator “breaks down” complex tasks and behaviors into meaningful pieces that become powerful building blocks for learning. For instance, Darby notes in Small Teaching Online (Darby & Lang, 2019) that “successful coaches worked (with athletes) on small, fundamental skills that had powerful effects” on their learning. This intentional focus can be supported with an educator’s attention to delivery mode and timing.

Using Student-to-Student Interactions to Boost Engagement

Engaging students in class discussions and activities is always a challenging endeavor for instructors because there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work to draw in everyone. Students will have varying degrees of interest in the topic, and not everyone will be able to find the same degree of relevance in the concepts presented.

Using Interactive Videos to Encourage Active Learning

Screenshot of an interactive video

Credit: Mark Wherley © Penn State is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 

Interactive videos are an excellent choice for providing an active learning experience for students. Instead of a video that positions the learner as a passive listener, interactive videos engage the viewer and demand certain forms of interaction. In fact, students have reported that interactive videos can be fun and allow them to learn the content better compared to videos without any forms of interaction (Kim, Glassman, Monroy-Hernandez, & Morris, 2015; Neo, Neo, & Yap, 2008).

Employing Metacognition (Thinking about Your Own Learning) as a Learning Tool

cartoon. Man standing in a head filled with thousands of documents

Credit: HikingArtist is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Metacognition (thinking about your own learning) is a self-regulated behavior that students can use to gain control over their own learning. Self-regulated behaviors, like managing time effectively or asking for help, begin with monitoring, which helps us reflect upon or evaluate the information we’re trying to learn (I’m getting the answers wrong. Am I making simple mistakes, or don’t I understand the concept?).