What should go in a template course?
Caitlin Foran avatar
Written by Caitlin Foran
Updated over a week ago

Creating a template with that pattern can save time, and provide guidance and consistency for authors in your organisation.

What are some examples of patterns to use in templates?

Learning design is part art, part science. For the science part, we often look to instructional strategies or models that follow a set sort of pattern or structure. 

Here are a few fairly common instructional strategies that follow a pattern.

  • The Aristotelian "triptych" - Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.

  • Gagne's nine events - Gain attention, inform learners of objectives, stimulate recall of prior learning.... 

  • Salmon's 5-stage model - Access and motivation, online socialisation, information exchange, knowledge construction, development.

  • Kolb's learning cycle - Concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation, active experimentation.

  • 5E's of inquiry learning - Engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate.

What should I include in my template course?

Maybe your organisation has it's own set of particular welcome pages for the start of every course? Or a particular method/approach for engaging learners? For instance, in our templates you'll see each template follows it's own pattern that is repeated. We've borrowed elements from most of the instructional strategies examples given above. These sorts of patterns of teaching and learning are a great starting point for a template.  

Here are some key elements to include in a template.

  1. Your framework/pattern for teaching and learning - This is usually in reasonably broad strokes for instance: Introduction, prior knowledge, example, application, quiz etc. etc.

  2. Text for authors to reuse as-is - For instance any pages on the help and support available to your learners specifically. In our templates you'll see these elements below our instructions for authors.

  3. Instructions for authors - For instance guidance on what they might cover on an introduction page.

Our advice is to start with 1 and work your way down into detail/guidance. 

Start by thinking about what elements (and text) will be common across a number of your courses. Do they follow a model or pattern? 

Then write the elements that will be the same/mostly the same across courses. This might even include placeholder images/videos etc.

Lastly, give some best practice guidance for authors on what should go in those particular elements.

Thinking about your style

Another thing to consider is setting the style in your template.  We describe how having a style guide can  help both your authors and learners in Course Planning - Setting the style .

Including or demonstrating the consistent use of block styles can help with creating a professional looking course and one that is easy for learners to follow.
Take a look at how we try to approach this in the templates we've made.  
Need some help on how to create a template course?  Check out Creating a template course for your organisation.

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