While we may be used to carrying out many everyday tasks via the internet, for most of us, studying online is something new. You may wonder what to expect; how does an online learning environment work and most importantly, can an online course engage and inspire you in the same way as a campus-based course?
Thanks to the proven learning theory behind the delivery of our online courses, we believe they can. Let’s explore how we create a truly immersive online study experience.
More than just words
Every module on each of our online courses has been designed with online student engagement in mind. We understand the common challenges associated with online learning, so we’ve designed our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to be focused, relevant and visually stimulating.
Unlike more traditional distance-learning courses that rely on correspondence style learning, you won’t be bogged down in text-heavy pages when studying our online content.
Each weekly unit is broken down into small, easily-digestible lessons. This helps you get under the skin of that particular subject area to really understand and retain the information, which you can then relate to both previous and further topics. We also intersperse lessons with dynamic activities that relate directly to the theory you’ve been learning about. This lets you immediately put these ideas into practice and solidify your knowledge on career-specific subjects, showing that you are able to apply abstract theory to real-world scenarios.
“All activities were useful, but I particularly enjoyed those that related to actual case studies, like Enron and Unilever,” says one of our Online MBA students. “I know that academic theories are important and as these were introduced at relevant times, it was therefore easier to understand their application and relevance.”
No two online lessons the same
Aside from text, a typical lesson may include any combination of the following elements:
Links to digital readings that have been carefully curated by the academic module team help to support your learning. We understand the time pressure students are under, so these direct you to specific pages, letting you know what to read and when. All these texts are available electronically through the University library platform.
- ‘Think points’ will ask you to critically consider the true implications of the theory in question and to reflect on your learning.
- High-quality imagery and videos are provided, linked to the topic or case study under discussion.
- Interactive content such as diagrams, flow charts, sliders and timelines will help you visualise certain concepts, events and processes.
This content might take the form of photo case studies showing real world images, or a graphical representation of a sequence of events over a period of time, featuring topics, people or time periods. We know memorising a series of events can be challenging, so our responsive, visual timelines will help you conceptualise and preserve the information. Other examples include interactive maps that show the progression of certain events across the globe, and clickable diagrams which help to break down complex schemas into smaller steps.
Whatever the subject, our academics are supported by a team of learning designers and media developers who work to make sure content is fresh, modern and thought-provoking. The best example of this are our interactive games, which ask you how you’d react to a set of working scenarios as a manager in your field. The games perfectly illustrate how your decisions affect an organisation on a micro and a macro level, and give you a platform through which to experiment with different hypothetical situations.
Video content that paints a full picture
Our online courses are built with an appreciation that different people learn in different ways, which is why we include video content throughout the modules.
Videos illustrate key concepts of a subject and present the information from alternative visual perspectives to that of the written module content, which adds a layer of tangible insight and/or a different stance. You’ll hear from your module leaders and guest industry experts, who will give their unique outlook on the subject at hand, providing a jump-off point for further investigation and debate. Seeing and hearing a topic explained can help increase your understanding, helping the concepts fall into place so that you can confidently formulate an informed standpoint.
“The online video presentations were very helpful and gave some thought on how to undertake the tasks within each unit,” explains an Online MBA student. “I value the videos as a teaching aid as I am able to conceptualise content easily when someone is explaining orally to me.”
Other videos give a behind-the-scenes view of actual organisations at work in the industry you choose to study, demonstrating how course theory can be put to action in a real work setting. As an Online MSc Construction Project Management student says, “I find the interactive videos of other professionals in the industry very interesting, informative and relevant. It serves as a constant reminder that the practical challenges we’re addressing throughout the module are current and the knowledge can be taken into consideration during our daily interaction at work.”
Learning from and alongside others
Of course, while engaging content is vital, having the opportunity to bounce ideas off your peers and gain opposing perspectives is just as important. That’s why we set group tasks and projects and host forums allowing you to discuss and analyse module content and assignments with your fellow students. Collaborating with your peers and working as part of a team can create a more engaging experience and enable you to gain alternative perspectives from around the globe.
“I like the group discussion and lessons as they allow me to challenge myself and get feedback for my work,” says our Online MBA student.
We’ve created a dedicated online space for student-to-student discussion within our VLE. You’ll find announcements from your tutors, links to all content and a quick and easy way to see who else is online and available to chat, all connected by seamless navigation. As a hub to facilitate learning and collaboration, our VLE is a constant source of online study support.
“I was unsure how much interaction with my fellow students I would have, but from day one it became clear through online discussions that the communication channels were not in any way limited,” explains our Online MSc Construction Project Management student.
“I’ve been able to undertake group assignments with my online classmates as though they were in the same room, when in reality we were working from different corners of the globe.”
Crowned University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2017, Nottingham Trent University is devoted to providing the highest standards of further education. Find out more about how our online courses immerse you in your chosen subject and get in touch with us to speak to a member of our Admissions team.