Create an MVP to Ensure Widescale Online Learning Success

MVP development

This is the second post in our series on how to develop true online learning.  If you missed the first post, please visit our blog. 


When scaling your online presence you need to develop your MVP, for many people reading this, they may think I’m referring to your students as your most valuable players.  And while that is true, your students are incredibly important, what I’m referring to is the approach many tech companies take to product development. 


As you develop your online programs or learning products, you do not need to launch with every bell and whistle integrated into the learning experience right from the start. When tech companies develop products, they use an approach to identify and launch their MVP – this is their Minimum Viable Product. From there, they continue to build out the product; this approach allows the company to minimize the time to market. Institutions should be thinking about their online offerings in that same productized way – what is the MVP for their program. 


In terms of a solid student learning experience, a minimal viable product should include student-centered content, which means that activities are hands-on and students are engaged in an experiential way of interacting with content, faculty and one another. Your MVP should also include assessment that scaffolds learning, meaning that there are ample opportunities for formative practice and feedback that precede a large high stakes summative assessment. FInally, your MVP should have a consistent user experience in the platform through which it is being delivered. This means that each course has a consistent navigation and thoughtfulness to keep learners focused on the learning and not on the platform nuances. These three areas of focus are solid best practices and do not involve expensive media budgets or high end graphics, but result in a successful, engaging student learning experience.


The best advice I can provide on how to plan for effective scale your MVP is to begin with a pilot program, allowing it to be the proof of concept.  This approach allows an institution to identify any challenges that may arise, work them out, and develop a set of best practices unique to their own institution.  The lessons learned from the pilot program can be incorporated into all online courses as the institution begins to scale.  


The MVP approach also lets you build out best practices in readying your faculty and other important stakeholders before engaging with a larger population of students.  By working with a small set of faculty, you can develop an understanding of what resources and development are needed to prepare your faculty community for success in teaching in the online environment. 


The pilot program also addresses how your traditional in-person support services need to be modified  in order to support student success in the online world.  Once the processes, development, training and other aspects related to your learning product are proven to work in your pilot, you can then build scale and continue to enhance the student experience. 


The MVP highlights the critical components that must exist in your learning product, the areas that you must integrate in, as well as identifying what is a nice to have but you can launch without.  Ultimately this approach will help ensure wide-scale success as you bring your learning products to more of your student community. 


We have worked with many institutions to help them determine the MVP or proof of concept for their online learning product.  If you’d like to learn more about this process or have questions related to MVPs in online learning, please set up a time to talk with an Ease Learning team member by using this calendar link. 


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Ease Learning provides fee-for-service Framework development and learning design services. In addition, Ease Learning also offers learner support services and a SaaS technology platform that enables course design and learning analytics at scale.

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Learning Design

“I am so grateful for your patience with us throughout this process—we’ve been able to learn a lot with this pilot and have valued you all as thought partners in that work.”


Girlie Delacruz
Associate Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning at Northeastern University


“This work has illustrated mapping of existing nursing content to the draft AACN Essentials through the Skillways platform.  This offers us a way to move toward competency-based education by truly modularizing our content for small-bite delivery because we can measure progress toward outcomes as students proceed along individual paths.”

David Bodily
Director, ReNEW & RN-BSN Completion Programs University of Wyoming


“Thank you for all of your hard work and support! We appreciate your professionalism, knowledge, and participation in this wonderful experience to create two creative and dynamic courses.”

George Lacuesta

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“Ease was always quick to work with us as an institution to quickly resolve issues. The follow up of agents was amazing.”

Nancy Artaz
Friends University