Here's what that means for those, like you, who want to share knowledge and teach online!
There are hundreds of books written by experts in adult education, instructional design and business psychology that talk about what it takes to effectively train, educate and inspire working professionals. What we know is that adult learners are people who are looking to learn, who want to apply what they are learning in their own lives and who are often facing a number of obstacles that don't apply to younger students.
The Tourism Academy's Instructor Success team reviews each and every course for its ability to meet these standards before it goes live in our course catalog and becomes available to private academies and enterprise learning tracks. So what is this criteria? Well, here's the TEA that every course must meet.
Adult learners are looking to learn because they are looking to make a change to their current circumstance. The skill, travel & hospitality courses that inspire the tourism professionals in our audience are those that clearly articulate what they will be able to do and how they will be better positioned after completing the course. Transformative courses identify a desired outcome and the knowledge needed to reach that outcome, usually right in the course title. An example of this could be made from the typical business finance course. Business finance seems like something an entrepreneur or professional should know but why? Why does the learner need to understand the fundamentals of accounting, cash flow, financing, etc? They want to better understand finance so that they may run a more profitable business, provide online destination training, launch a new enterprise, identify areas for growth, or any number of other objectives. A course that prepares learners to achieve these objectives provides a transformation.
If the objective of your course is to help students achieve their Tourism Ambassador Certification certificate, consider creating a series of course modules like "Tourism Certificate Course 1: online course topic."
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Studies on adult learning suggest that attention spans wane after just 15-20 minutes. After this period, lectures become less effective for two reasons: working memory and interference. Working memory relates to the brain's active processing of new inputs, integrating that with existing knowledge to form long-term memories. It requires active attention, focus and the ability to dynamically manipulate unfamiliar information & concepts. Interference is when the capacity to incorporate new information in a meaningful and efficient manner decrease. Interference makes longer lectures both less enjoyable and less effective; it is a major cognitive impediment to knowledge acquisition for all learners. In novel terms, the brain needs time to absorb information so that it is less prone to distraction. Read more about the science.
Data collected from user interactions with The Tourism Academy show that the typical learner interacts with a course for about 17 minutes at a time. Data also shows that learners are far more likely to lose interest, not complete a lecture or click away from the lesson if they are not prompted to engage every 3.5 to 4 minutes. So, when reviewing courses for listing in our public catalog, The Tourism Academy's Instructor Success team looks for these engagement prompts at regular intervals throughout the course content. Check out these great engagement prompts.
Fully online courses can bring down barriers to learning, but for them to be successful instructors and administrators must recognise the unique challenges facing adult learners and those that distance learning pose. Casual adult learners, as opposed to those seeking their advanced degree, are looking for efficient and effective transformations quickly. Courses that can be completed in one or two hours see much higher rates of completion.
Our Instructor success team is looking at a number of factors to see that course completion is attainable for each of our tourism and travel industry professionals. Here are a few ways you can increase completion rates.