Learning Design Challenge #24: Welcome E-mail for an Online Course

Learning Design Challenge #24: Welcome E-mail for an Online Course


Most of us have surely written or received one of these e-mail messages.

Welcome to this exciting adventure in __________. I’m excited by the opportunity to share my experiences with you as, together, we explore the world of __________. I look forward to getting to know more about you.

-Your Instructor

It’s the old, fairly canned, “Welcome to the Online Course” e-mail. As far as I know, it is a construct grown out of a perceived need: 1) to respond to to students enrolling in an online course in order to validate that their enrollment had indeed been successful; 2) to provide pre-course instructions in order to ease any possible technology or process obstacles for learners taking an online course; 3) to address self-paced or flexible enrollment courses (often MOOCs) where there may not be an opportunity to communicate easily with a cohort at the beginning of a course.

My experience is that this welcome e-mail, whether it is written by a real person or a machine, inevitably comes off as wooden, impersonal, and, well, unwelcoming.

Assuming you think beginning  a course with the right tone and message is as important as I do, how can we improve the current form-letter practice?

And with that context, here’s today’s learning design challenge. Design your ideal welcome message for learners enrolling in a course.

Here are some questions to consider.

  1. What is your desired learner experience for this message?
  2. What are you really hoping to accomplish (goal) with the welcome?
  3. Can you do more than simply provide information?
  4. What are some possible constraints for this design?

Design Constraints

Time to Design: <15 min.
Context: Online
Number of Building Blocks Allowed: 5
Hashtag: #DailyLEM24
Design Challenge Guidelines

Suggested Solutions



flickr photo shared by WaywardShinobi under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

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