Strategies for Creating a Successful Online Learning Environment 

 September 29, 2022

By  James Brauer

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Designing courses and learning experiences for online students presents educators with unique challenges and opportunities.

Educators should consider the following strategies to create a successful online learning environment: 

Creating a Community of Learners

As an educator, one of the most important things you can do is to foster a sense of community among your students. Students need to feel that they belong to a supportive and encouraging community to feel comfortable learning online. A learning community can develop by allowing students to engage in discussions on discussion boards and chat rooms, holding virtual office hours, and providing personalized feedback.

Promoting Active Learning

Active learning is critical within online education. Role-playing exercises, simulations, and case studies are active learning activities. When designing a course to engage students in the material, it is important to create activities and assignments that require them to apply what they are learning. 

Incorporating Various Media Types

Content for online courses should appeal to a wide range of learners by incorporating various media types. Images, videos, infographics, and podcasts are examples. By utilizing a variety of media types, students will be able to stay engaged with the material and process the information in different ways. 

Giving Clear and Concise Instructions

It is vital to give clear and concise instructions when creating content for an online course. This is necessary since students will likely be unable to ask questions in person if they are confused about something. When writing instructions for an assignment or activity, ensure that the instructions are as specific as possible so there will be no confusion. 

Assessing Student Understanding Regularly

It is important to assess students’ understanding regularly as part of an online course to ensure their success. This can be accomplished through quizzes, exams, writing assignments, and group assignments. If you regularly assess student understanding, you will be able to identify any areas in which students are experiencing difficulties, and you can provide additional resources or assistance. 


In designing an online course or learning experience, educators can provide students with the best opportunity for success by considering these strategies. Online learning environments that are successful include:

  • Creating a community of learners.
  • Promoting active learning.
  • Incorporating various media types.
  • Providing clear and concise instructions.
  • Regularly assessing student understanding.

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James Brauer

James Brauer, Ed.D., MBA is currently Director of Graduate Education at Avila University. Previously he was a virtual school administrator of a public online school serving students throughout the state of Iowa. Brauer has also served as an assistant principal and special education teacher. He is passionate about leadership and management, health and wellness, and personal development.

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