How would you do this? A design/technology question.

Hi folks!

I'm working with a client that is doing a totally online eLearning course. Although she is the SME and the instructor of the course, she is wanting to have minimal participation with grading and student interaction (because of the size of the course. There are 50+ online learners taking the course.). Her goal with the design was to set it up as a correspondence course for the learners to take anytime, anywhere, with minimal deadlines and participant/instructor interaction.

The course design is set up as three-fold:

Part 1: Learner takes Articulate presentation learning - Slides and voice narration with some Engage interaction and a "check your understanding" quiz (not graded) at the end of each module.

Part 2: Learner takes a "virtual field trip" to a web site (this is a land restoration project, so the learner "goes" to a piece of land (on the web) to assess the land and apply learning). The learner must also DO the assignments (sort of like a field guide with questions to answer) that ask questions about the site and application of what they learned in Part 1. This is also not graded. The student is given an answer key in the back of the workbook.

Part 3: Using an LMS quiz tool, the student takes a final exam (needs 70% for a passing grade) to attain credit for the course. The questions on the final pertain to Part 1 onlyb(the Articulate learning). The questions do not contain Part 2 (field trip assessment) because they aren't simple T/F, MC kinds of questions to ask on a field trip.


In the alpha/beta testing of the course, students ARE NOT doing Part 2. I think they think they can "get away with" not doing the application. And since they aren't getting tested or graded on it, they are skipping it. 

The instructor does not want to have to grade all the student homework. More importantly, however, she doesn't want students skipping the virtual field trip.

I'm looking for any creative ideas of how we might build in accountability - maybe using technology? Or perhaps some design strategies that we can put in place to ensure students are doing all three parts (not just 1 and 3).

Any ideas?

Thanks so much in advance for your help!

~ Renee

10 Replies
Patti Bryant

Hi Renee! 

This is a good question! I know you'll get some excellent responses.

What is in it for the learners to do Part 2? I'm trying to figure out if this is a required assignment for school or if there is something they gain from doing Part 2 that could help motivate them. This helps in determining if there is a lack of motivation or what the "issue behind the issue" is.  Once that is determined, I think it will be easier to help with a direction for this issue.

Keepin' the joy,

Jerson  Campos

Patti has it right. There is no motiviation for the students. Are these students paying for this course? Why would they want to complete an assignment that isn't even graded?

 It seems like Part 2 is outside the LMS so you can't force a requirment to complete this part before you complete Part 3. And what makes it harder is the instructor doesn't even want to grade these papers so there is no knowledge if it was even completed to standard. The only thing I can suggest is create a part 2 version where they have to take the quiz online and sends a message to part 3 that allows that student to take that portion.

Bob S

Hi Renee,

As pointed out by others, it's alays important to remember the WIIFM factor when designing learning. However if you are comfortable that the material/learning in Step 2 is critical to their ability to execute tasks after the training, then you may want to consider making it required.

One device for doing this is "hidden" pieces of info they must discover during their Step 2 explorations. In order to move forward to the quiz in Step 3, they must enter this hidden info they discovered.  It can of course be part of the quiz itself, but better yet would be to have it before the quiz and they must enter the correct info to access the test.

This can be done in QuizMaker pretty easily with the feedback options it provides.

Hope this helps,


Angie Shertzer

Is the Part 2 virtual field trip REALLY essential to the overall learning? It sounds like it's a strong reinforcement for Part 1. If it is part of a scaffolded learning, it would be good to see it reflected in the Part 3 assessment too. Can you add questions about the process of assessing the land? Any questions that get at what the students should have learned from completing Part 2?

Additionally, you still probably need to track Part 2 completion. As others have noted, work students do with the website in Part 2 occurs outside the LMS. You can't track it or enforce prerequisites since the work occurs in the workbook.

What about adding something in the LMS, like a simple quiz after completing Part 2?

  • Non-graded, completion-only quiz: In the workbook, have them write down information about their land (like location, web site used for research, something they would struggle to answer without having done the work). Then ask them to copy that info into the quiz (only do that for 1 question or they may hate you!). Do you have any wrap-up open-ended synthesis or evaluation questions in the workbook? Pull them out of the workbook and put them on the LMS quiz instead. You would want to be careful not to repeat questions in the workbook and LMS quiz. And make sure to give clear instructions for when to jump from the LMS to the workbook and from the workbook back to the LMS.
  • Graded quiz: Unless you give them specific piece of land, it's difficult to write questions that can be graded multiple-choice. Could you give them 3 different land choices and then created a branched quiz? That might be a little complicated for what you are trying to accomplish!

Good luck! Sounds like a good project

Bob S

Hi Renee,

IMHO the virtual "field trip" idea is a great one. It can provide the application piece for thier newfound skills/knowledge.

So I wouldn't be eager to give up on it... just  find a way to (A) make sure the value to them is high and (B) require them to use/find something from that interaction that is required in order to move on.

Yes, there are more straight-forward ways to build that interaction. But follow your gut and stick with the more interactive approach path you've started down and your learners will thank you for it.


Renee Schuh

I just want to say THANK YOU all for responding to my post. You've asked some great questions and given me a lot to take back to this instructor. It confirms many of my thoughts...being that there has to be incentive/motivation for them to do this work. And some of you gave me some really great ideas of how to do this differently - which I will present to the instructor as well. Thanks so much for your time and ideas!

~ Renee