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10 Principles of Successful E-Learning

"In 2005, Professors Anderson and McCormick wrote A Common Framework for E-learning Quality and Ten Pedagogic Principles of E-Learning, describing an approach to the development of effective e-learning programs.

According to Professors Anderson and McCormick, the Ten Principles may help designers to construct pedagogically sound e-learning materials and related activities. The principles may also help teachers to choose resources; design teaching and learning activities based on those resources; and support such activities while they take place.

Anderson and McCormick state that there is an implicit assumption in their approach that the more of the ten principles are embodied, the better the quality of the pedagogy; and the fewer embodied principles, the lower the quality. Pedagogy is defined as the actions which shape the learning experience ranging from technical infrastructure to course design to teaching. The authors further state that, “learners are not passive recipients, indeed, one of the pedagogic principles draws on the idea that learners have agency.

Learning does not take place without the learner exercising this “agency”; a passive learner exercises no agency and hence learning will be limited. Therefore, successful e-learning programmes must provide students with an active role in the learning process." OEB Site

Source: OEB Shaping the future of learning

The principles

  1. Match to the curriculum
  2. Inclusion
  3. Learner engagement
  4. Innovative approaches
  5. Effective learning
  6. Formative Assessment
  7. Summative Assessment
  8. Coherence, consistency & transparency
  9. Ease of use
  10. Cost-effectiveness

  1. Match to the curriculum

    The pedagogy should be matched with and aligned to the appropriate curriculum through clear objectives; the relevance of content covered; the appropriateness of student activities; and the nature of the assessment.

  2. Inclusion

    The pedagogy should support inclusive practice seen in terms of different types and range of achievement; physical disabilities that can be particularly supported by e-learning; different social and ethnic groups; and gender.

  3. Learner engagement

    The pedagogy should engage and motivate learners. This engagement should be evident in an ethos of being both educational and motivating.

  4. Innovative approaches

    It should be evident why learning technologies are being used, rather than a non-technological approach which achieves the same end as effectively. E-learning should be fit for purpose.

  5. Effective learning

    This principle can be demonstrated in a variety of ways; for example, by using a range of different approaches in the learning platform that will allow the student to choose one that suits her, or that can be personalised to her, or by satisfying a number of the characteristics of good learning (learner agency; learner autonomy; enabling or encouraging collaboration).

  6. Formative Assessment

    The pedagogy should provide formative assessments.

  7. Summative Assessment

    The summative assessments must be valid and reliable; comprehensible by teachers, learners and parents; able to deal with a range of achievement levels; and free from adverse emotional impact on the learner.

  8. Coherence, consistency & transparency

    The pedagogy must be internally coherent and consistent in the way the objectives, content, student activity and assessment match to each other. It must be open and accessible in its design.

  9. Ease of use

    E-learning should be transparent in its ease of use.

  10. Cost-effectiveness

    Technology solutions need to be justifiable and affordable and the costs sustainable.