Elements of Effective e-Learning Design


  • Andrew R. Brown
  • Bradley D. Voltz




e-learning, educational design, learning resource development


Preparing and developing e-learning materials is a costly and time consuming enterprise. This paper highlights the elements of effective design that we consider assist in the development of high quality materials in a cost efficient way. We introduce six elements of design and discuss each in some detail. These elements focus on paying attention to the provision of a rich learning activity, situating this activity within an interesting story line, providing meaningful opportunities for student reflection and third party criticism, considering appropriate technologies for delivery, ensuring that the design is suitable for the context in which it will be used, and bearing in mind the personal, social, and environmental impact of the designed activities. Along the way, we describe how these design elements can be effectively utilized by contextualizing them with examples from an e-learning initiative.

Author Biographies

Andrew R. Brown

Dr. Andrew R. Brown is a senior lecturer in music at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, specializing in computer music and researching creativity with technology. He is also the digital media program manager at the Australasian Cooperative Research Centre for Interaction Design. As well as being a music educator, Andrew is an active composer of computer music and a builder of software instruments. Dr. Brown can be contacted at a.brown@qut.edu.au

Bradley D. Voltz

Bradley D. Voltz is head of Music at St Joseph’s Nudgee College, Brisbane, Australia, and has been involved in music education in secondary schools for the past 12 years in teaching, managerial, and entrepreneurial roles. He is an active performing musician and for the past seven years has been conductor of the Third Queensland Youth Orchestra, and is an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board. Bradley Voltz can be reached via email at: bvo@staff.nudgee.com




How to Cite

Brown, A. R., & Voltz, B. D. (2005). Elements of Effective e-Learning Design. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v6i1.217