Online Learning Model


The development of CSU’s Online Learning Model helped to share and shape the future direction for CSU efforts in online education. The model bought together a large amount of research and identified best practices that revolved around Moore’s model of interaction.


The original aim of the Online Learning Model was to provide a future vision for what online learning should and could look like. The model began to take shape as part of the work done in developing CSU’s strategic document Destination 2020. Use of the model expanded and began to be act as a bridge between the University’s strategic efforts and the practice of teaching. The applied use of the model was originally piloted across 28 subjects and acted as a way to inform innovation, trial technology and change practices within the subject. The success of these early pilots led to a scale up across a much broader selection of subjects across the three faculties.


The Online Learning Model was an adaptive body of work that changed over time. It started out as a collection of key concepts aimed improving student interaction in a number of areas as a way to improve satisfaction and retention. These concepts were expanded upon and fleshed out with relevant research. The next stage saw the team take to the road and workshop the model across all of CSU’s campus locations in face to face workshops and online. These workshops helped to redefine and streamline the model down and to look at ways that it could be implemented and modelled. The pilots then took the existing model and sort to conduct real pilots of practices related to the model. The feedback and analysis of these pilots resulted in a revised model being released and the start of developing the Online Learning Exchange to capture the strategies being developed around the implementation of the model. The pilots of the model were then expanded and looked at the challenges of scaling up the established practices as well as creating new strategies for implementation.


The outcome of this work has been the implementation of the strategic Transforming Online Learning project at CSU. The TOL project has adapted the OLM further seeking to add further elements around flexibility of the student experience.

The iterative nature of the project has mean that key learnings throughout the process have been able to be adopted. These include:

  • Simplifying the naming of elements helped to improve communication and reduce misunderstanding and confusion.
  • Illustrating the model through examples of practice helped explain to teaching staff the tangible nature of the model and bridge the gap between theory and practice.
  • Measuring the effect of the pilots and scale up helped to refine the model and provide clarity on areas to focus.
  • Having an open dialogue with staff and using workshops to confirm the initial work helped to ensure that we weren’t barking up the wrong tree. The early engagement helped to establish the vocabulary of the model as it provide a simple way to discuss changes and efforts around teaching and learning design processes.