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Beyond Recordings

Why Modern Online Courses Need To Be Far More Than Passive Videos

An Online or Digital Course, “It’s just a bunch of webinar recordings.”

This common misconception assumes online courses simply package pre-recorded lectures without much else. But modern online courses bear little resemblance to static video libraries.

So how did this misconception arise? Early online courses in the 1990s and 2000s did lean heavily on recordings and lacked interactivity. And today, some courses still incorporate video content as part of their materials. However, reputable online learning platforms have evolved far beyond a passive video model.

Here are key characteristics that demonstrate how online courses deliver robust learning:

Interactive Elements: Quizzes, live discussions, collaborative assignments, simulations and more immerse learners.

Tailored Feedback: Course facilitators provide personalized guidance and coaching for improvement.

Peer Connections: Participants chat, critique peer work, share resources and form study groups.

Gamification: Points, levels, challenges and rewards drive engagement with the content.

Real-World Projects: Learners apply their skills through case studies, capstone projects and portfolios.

Ongoing Support: Technical assistance, advising and other participant services ensure a quality experience.

With research-based instructional design, online courses spark active learning through dynamic engagement, not static videos. While recordings may play a role, they are typically complemented with elements that bring courses to life.

Have you taken an online course that went beyond recordings? Share your experience! What features did you find most valuable?

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