Finding What’s Missing – how to evaluate what’s not in your course but should be!


There’s a playground I love taking my children to. It has swings, slides, climbing equipment, a field for running around and benches for me to rest when my children tire me out! It isn’t until the hot sun is beating down on me that I think about the fact that this park needs some shade.

Instructional design, as a creative task, can be a little like this. It’s easy to evaluate what you have, but it’s hard to evaluate what you might be missing. When you have learning objectives, assessments and content, a course can seem complete.

Below is a checklist of additional elements to consider.

  • All learning materials are accessible (content pages respect hierarchy, images have alt text, hyperlinks are descriptive, PDFs are properly tagged, etc.).
  • Content meets the unique needs of the course’s audience.
  • There is a high level of engagement and interactivity (learn-by-doing activities, scenario-based questions, storytelling components, etc.).
  • The assessments respond to course learning objectives and reflect any real-world applications.
  • There are contact options for learners to troubleshoot technology issues or clarify course components.
  • Content reinforces the “why” question inherent in the course: why is this material/assessment relevant?
  • There is an introduction and conclusion to each module, initiating and completing the learning.
  • Learner support is available (through Intelligent Agents, Awards, Release Conditions for remedial content, etc.).
  • Graphic design choices enhance course content.
  • Assessments are scaffolded throughout the course so that learners are prepared for any culminating assessments.
  • Feedback from previous versions of the course or similar courses has been considered and applied where appropriate.
  • Additional learning opportunities are available for learners who want to further pursue their study.

If you have other ideas, please add them in the chat below!


  • Bryan.L.295
    Bryan.L.295 Posts: 1 🌱

    The checklist is great. It aligns well with a project I’m currently working on, aimed at establishing clear guidelines and policies for our course structures. I am coming from this with a user expereince and data extraction perspective. The checklist covers similar areas we are addressing, such as the naming of pre and post assessments, standards for demographic surveys, and the inclusion of course welcome information and module introductions.

    I am currently compiling a more detailed framework and would greatly appreciate it if anyone could share any existing course development policies. Insights into how others have structured similar content would be immensely helpful as we refine our guidelines.