Online Courses for Learning Skills

Online learning  (or elearning) is constantly growing, with courses on a wide variety of topics available at many websites. Some universities provide free courses on academic subjects. Check the list on my Smart Skills page where I continue to add more websites as I discover them. Don’t miss my course at Udemy, “Gain Incredible Focus with a Personal Mission Statement.

Courses can vary widely in the content presented and the media they are presented in. So what defines a course?


  1. program of study: a program of study or training, especially one that leads to a degree or certificate from an educational institution
  2. class taught at educational institution: a session or series of sessions that students attend to learn a subject, often as part of a school curriculum that leads to a degree or certificate

Whether you are consuming or creating online learning, here are some things to consider:

The meat…WHAT will be learned? What are the measurable learning objectives?  Course design choices for methods, media, and learner experience are based on the cognitive domain revealed by the verbs in the objectives.

Content: what information is included? Is it logically organized with a beginning, middle & end and presented in small chunks? Does the Introduction explain the benefits of learning, and immediately grab attention? Does it appeal to different Learning Styles (Visual, Auditory, Tactile/kinesthetic)

The sizzle…HOW will it be learned?

In course design, the goal of all choices for methods, media, and engagement is to add clarity and interest:

  • Methods– Lecture, reading, demonstration, activities, exercises, projects, assignments
  • Media– Handouts, text, presentation, visuals, audio, video

(see the chart in Figure 1 of this article: “The Subject of Objectives” by Phil Green)

(image from the Rapid Elearning blog, where I first became fascinated by instructional design)

The best courses provide an engaging learner experience with relevant quotes, examples, stories, humor, discussion, questions, interaction, practice, feedback, role playing, case studies, scenarios, simulations, gamification…

Take a look at these highly interactive learning activities:

WHAT will be the outcomes? How will results be measured? How many learners actually complete the course, and did the course really teach what it set out to? Tests, surveys…

Courses on Course Design

Examples of outstanding elearning:

Learn more: Best Practices in Designing Online Courses from Las Positas College


Course Outline Template (doc)

Methods, Media, Engagement and Tools Card (pdf)

I write about goal setting, time management, and other skills for personal development, happiness, and a productive life. My fascination with phonics and the pursuit of literacy is shared at I enjoy reading books and watching movies based on the screen and page method.

Posted in work skills

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