Research and Best Practices

Michigan Virtual works to develop materials for both students and educators based on diligent research and industry leading practices to ensure student success.

Researched and Ready

Our instructional design team understands that learning online is a different experience than learning in traditional environments. We focus our efforts on developing lessons and experiences that will engage students, generate interest and help them reach their learning goals. We apply four areas of instructional design and research when developing our strategies.

  • Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction provides an optimal instructional framework to build online lessons that promote student learning across many kinds of courses.
  • Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design reinforces the difference between learning for the sake of passing a course and learning for understanding, and how to design lessons that support students in making sense of what they are learning and why it is significant in the “big picture.”
  • How People Learn (Bransford et. al. ) and Why Don’t Students Like School? (Willingham) provide the research on cognitive and learning science which helps us understand how learning actually happens and the conditions that promote it.
  • Anderson and Krathwohl’s A Taxonomy of Learning, Teaching, and Assessing (also known as the revised Bloom’s taxonomy) help us accurately identify the kind of skill or knowledge students will be learning so we can ensure that objectives, instruction and assessments are aligned with one another.

Best Practice Makes Perfect

Quality Matters is an internationally-recognized quality assurance organization dedicated to promoting and improving the quality of online courses. Based on feedback received through the Quality Matters course evaluation processMichigan Virtual instructional designers have developed a set of practices, tools, templates, procedures and guidelines that support general standards described by the Quality Matters K-12 Secondary Standards for Online and Blended Courses.

The standards focus on the following areas:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Instructional Materials
  5. Course Activities and Learner Interaction
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility and Usability*
  9. Compliance Standards

Having and applying our set of best practices based on these standards helps ensure that the learning experiences we create are focused on promoting student success and having a good online learning experience.