e-Learning didactics

e-Learning Didactics: A Crash Course

We dive into the world of e-learning didactics and show why a sound e-didactic conception is essential for successful e-learning.

Yes, dear didactics. The science of (successful) teaching and learning has already occupied us many times. In past blogposts, we have already taken a close look at the function of e-didactics or didactics in adult education. This time, our journey takes us once again into the didactic universe of digital learning. Specifically, it is about how e-learning didactics can be transferred from theory to practice. How can good digital learning environments be created? What are the steps in a conceptual design process? What are the different theoretical approaches to e-learning didactics? We have researched and found the following answers.

Basics of e-learning didactics

e-Learning didactics (also e-didactics or online didactics) deals with digital teaching/learning processes, or more precisely with the success of these processes. The basis for all e-didactic considerations is the fundamental assumption that it is not enough to provide knowledge that learners acquire on their own. Rather, it is about designing digital learning environments that enable successful learning. Much research has been done on the design of these learning environments in recent decades. And as is so often the case in science, individual schools of thought also take different approaches to e-learning didactics and swear by different models. To give you a first basic overview, we present the ADDIE model, an e-didactic classic.

ADDIE: e-Learning didactics meets instructional design

One of the best-known models for the e-didactic design of e-learning offers is the ADDIE model. This originates from instructional design (also instructional design or didactic design), which deals with the systematic planning and conception of learning environments and materials and was developed in the USA on the basis of Robert Gagné’s considerations. ADDIE is an acronym. Each letter represents one of the five phases of the model: A(nalyze), D(esign), D(evelop), I(mplement), and E(valuate). You will certainly have recognized the classic steps of conception processes, as they also occur in marketing or project management. Let us now examine these individual steps in a little more detail and show how e-learning didactics works in practice:

A: Analyze
At the beginning of an e-didactic conception process there is a well-founded analysis of the respective conditions. First of all, it must be determined once again whether e-learning makes sense in the specific case or whether the educational problem can be solved better elsewhere, for example in the form of classroom training. Once the decision has been made in favor of e-learning, an extensive target group analysis follows. The more precisely the learners, their needs and the desired learning content are analyzed at the beginning, the greater the learning success later on.

D: Design
Based on the analysis, the learning content is arranged and linked to form a coherent story. It is determined which media are used how and which resources are necessary for this. The most important tool in this phase is the storyboard, a kind of script for building the digital learning environment. A first prototype is then created on the basis of this script.

D: Develop
Now it’s time to create the e-learning offer. In this phase, concrete content such as media formats, texts or interactive elements are developed, created and assembled. This is followed by a test to identify and eliminate any errors or weaknesses.

I: Implement
In this phase, the developed e-learning offer is finally shared with learners. This can be done either by uploading on the Internet, for example in MOOCs, or with the help of a learning management system (LMS).

E: Evaluate
At the end of the conception process in e-learning didactics, the aim is to find answers to the following questions: Does the e-learning offer fulfill its purpose? Were the expectations of the learners and the providing company equally met? What are the suggestions for improvement? Based on these responses, appropriate readjustments can then be made.

We hold: The ADDIE model, with its five steps, offers a solid, easy-to-understand basic framework for e-didactic design. It should be noted, however, that there are a large number of other models that start from different basic assumptions. One example is a constructivist approach motivated by educational didactics, as advocated by Kergel/Heidekamp-Kergel. They present an e-didactic criteria checklist whose analysis grid consists not of steps but of constructivist, connectivist, and educational criteria that learning environments should meet.

At skillbest, our concept is roughly based on the steps of the ADDIE model, but we have found our very own way in e-learning didactics. Read for yourself.