E-learning Development to Support Outside Learning and a Flipped Classroom


While online learning can be used exclusively for a course and in-person learning can be used exclusively for a course, E-learning and in-person learning do not have to be mutually exclusive. E-learning can be used to supplement a course that is an in-person learning course.

This blog post will attempt to describe efforts in using E-learning modules to support outside learning in an in-person class, and to support the use of a flipped classroom model used during part of a course. Technology, as well as different uses for the E-learning within the course, will be highlighted.


By “in-person learning,” I am referring to the traditional model of students and an instructor gathering at specified times, typically to hear a lecture from the instructor and/or to participate in a learning activity.

By “hybrid learning,” I am referring to a course that is designed to partially meet or deliver course content online and to partially meet in-person in order to receive content and perform learning activities.

Outside learning refers to learning that is not taking place in the classroom. It does not necessarily mean that the learning is taking place “outdoors,” but simply that it is not in the standard classroom setting.

An E-learning module is “a unit of study that can be delivered individually or in conjunction with other modules to form a course. eLearning modules are self-paced learning experiences that include written content, audio, video, and other visual elements” (eLearning Company, n.d.) These are often hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Moodle, Canvas, etc.

A “flipped classroom is one that inverts the traditional approach of in-class lecture followed by homework activities. Instead, the flipped classroom is in use when “materials are introduced outside of class, and in-class time is re-purposed for inquiry, application, and assessment” (University of Washington, n.d.). In essence, the new content to be learned is presented outside of scheduled class times and the activities are performed during the class times.

Self-directed learning is where the student works to learn the knowledge themselves and directs themselves in the process. For example, instead of hearing a lecture on a topic, the student might be told to research and learn what they can about a topic on their own.

The scenario

E-learning modules were used during a Spring 2023 Writing for Media course. The learning objectives for the course were that the student would demonstrate competencies in:

  • Writing well with appropriate English
  • The ability to adapt writing to style requirements
  • Writing compelling stories
  • Exercising good judgment in relation to writing for media

Three e-learning modules were developed and delivered via the Moodle LMS. These modules were titled:

  • 1. English for Media Writing
  • 2. Broadcast Style Media Writing
  • 3. Media Law for Media Writing

All the modules were interactive, included formative assessments, and were offered as “ungraded” because they did not count toward a student’s summative assessment in the course.


The modules were created using the software Articulate Storyline 360. This is one of several software options for creating e-learning. While I have made projects before in Adobe Captivate, I had not made e-learning modules using Articulate Storyline 360. Fortunately, my previous experience served me well and the learning curve was lessened.

Author interface for Articulate Storyline 360

This software allows e-learning modules to be exported as Self-Contained Object Reference Modules (SCORM). “SCORM is a set of technical standards for eLearning products. It provides the communication method and data models that allow eLearning content and LMSs to work together.” (Rustici Software, n.d.). These types of modules are supported by various LMS’s and SCORM is a widely-used standard for e-learning, By working together with the LMS’s, the SCORM modules can not only be hosted and used on the LMS, but the LMS can also track student interaction with the SCORM module using software such as x-API. Data such as time the student spent within the module, answers to assessments, etc., can be tracked. If desired, summative assessments can be included within the module and the grades automatically added to the LMS gradebook.

SCORM modules are, in essence, mini-websites. As such, they can be exported as folders and files that can be hosted on cloud storage, such as Google Cloud Storage. Storage “buckets” were created on Google Cloud Storage, the files from an e-learning module were uploaded to the bucket, and the bucket’s access permissions were set to “public.” Similar to websites, the home page is typically labeled “index.html.” (Articulate Storyline labels their index file as “story.html” but this can easily be changed to “index.html” before uploading by simply renaming the file in a file explorer app.) Once all the files are uploaded to a bucket, the index file can be accessed to launch the module within a browser, essentially launching a mini-website. Since the index file and the other files are in the same server location, the index file will easily access all linked files and functions appropriately and the module will function as if it were on an LMS, except for x-API tracking into an LMS, of course. Since the bucket’s permission is set to “public,” Google Cloud generates a public URL for the index.html file, allowing any user with a web browser and Internet access to enter the URL and access the module. This allows for creator testing on various devices without using an LMS, as well as sharing with an audience where tracking is not required.

Since Google Cloud Storage’s bucket has its permissions set to “public,” the index.html file has a Public URL, which can be shared for accessing the module from any browser with an Internet connection.

Support of learning Objectives

The first module titled “English for Media Writing” supported the first learning objective competency of being able to write well with appropriate English. The module defined the different parts of speech and talked about ways to write, such as using the active voice. Since the course is Writing for Media, tips on what is used in media writing were also presented.

English for Media Writing Title Slide

The second module titled “Broadcast Style Media Writing” supported the second learning objective competency of the ability to adapt writing to style requirements. This module introduced the students to the idea that while print media is often read and thus written for the eye, broadcast writing is mostly heard and thus written for the ear. The ideas of writing for broadcast media were given in this module.

Broadcast Style Media Writing Title Slide

The third module supported the fourth learning objective competency involving exercising good judgment. While a separate course focuses more intensely on media law and ethics, this module attempted to introduce terms, principles and potential dangers of writing for media. With this in mind, students may be more likely to create good writing for media and avoid dangers, thus exercising good judgment.

Media Law for Media Writing Title Slide


The first module titled “English for Media Writing” was posted to offer learning to the student regarding content and skills that would be applicable through the entire course. Therefore, this module was posted early in the semester and remained on the LMS throughout the entire semester. It was also available for the students during the open-book take-home final exam which contained assessment regarding English. This allowed the students to learn about and interact with the content on their own time and the content did not use limited class time for a lecture on the elements of English and writing. Class time was valuable during the early portion of the course as there were various formats and structures to learn within media writing.

The second module title “Broadcast Style Media Writing” offered an opportunity to utilize the flipped classroom model. As it turned out, a Thursday class meeting was canceled due to inclement weather. Since the module was finished, the assignment in lieu of class was to complete the e-learning module. A deadline was given for the following week. Then, when classes resumed, it was anticipated that the students had been exposed to the ideas of broadcast writing and were ready for completing activities using those ideas. The broadcast writing material did not take up valuable class time as a lecture and students could jump into practicing the knowledge when classes resumed. The ability to practice is important in a writing class as one can learn from writing and then receiving feedback. This module also remained posted on the LMS so that students could reference it in the future as the class progressed.

The third module titled “Media Law for Media Writing” gave students information about terms, principles, and dangers related to media writing. As most of the class time was used for writing instruction, practice, and feedback, the ability to access the content regarding media law outside the classroom proved valuable. The take-home final exam also contained assessment regarding media law, and so the students were instructed to consult the chapter on Media Law in their textbooks and were also given the module as additional help.


In my opinion, the use of E-learning modules, such as those created with Articulate Storyline 360, used to support an in-person course is a definite asset and e-learning should not be considered as mutually exclusive with in-person learning.

E-learning can support learning within an in-person course in various ways, including:

  • Making the learning content available asynchronously and as a resource
  • Making the learning content interactive for the potential of increased engagement
  • Allowing the learning to include activities and formative assessments for practice
  • Allowing learning to take place outside the classroom for support of the classroom lecture, or in lieu of the classroom lecture if a flipped classroom or self-directed learning is desired.

Articulate Storyline 360 proved to be an enjoyable tool to use. In my opinion, it is a bit more clunky than Adobe Captivate when programming multiple interaction triggers, however its helpful interface, publishing options, and published module’s robust ability to be utilized on multiple screens make the software an attractive tool.

The multiple uses of E-learning modules within the Writing for Media course help prove to me what I already believed, which is that the possibilities for e-learning are amazing. While some features of an e-learning module could be replaced, such as presenting content through narration over an image in a video, the e-learning modules’ interactivity allows for the student to not only see and hear the content, but to interact with it, play with it, see it in action, and even test their knowledge of it. This is truly important for learning that is aligned with constructivist learning theory. For example, in the Broadcast Style Media Writing module, students could test their understanding of connotative words by clicking on the words in a sentence they thought were connotative words and getting immediate feedback to see if they were right. Also, they were given a scenario where they had to rewrite something written in print style to broadcast style. The e-learning module captured their writing and then showed it to the student next to the correct answer on the following slide. This type of interactivity and practice with immediate feedback is something you do not get with a video or a static PowerPoint presentation.

E-learning can support the learning outside the classroom and in a flipped classroom model within an in-person course. For a course that involves a lot of writing, practice is very important, and thus these E-learning modules can serve to support the learning through practice. They can also serve as the presentation of new content in lieu of a traditional lecture, allowing for practice activities to be performed during scheduled class times in a flipped classroom model.

See for yourself

If you would like, you may interact with the 3 E-learning modules that I created and used within my Writing for Media course. The links for each of them are below:

English for Media Writing

Broadcast Style Media Writing

Media Law for Media Writing


Elearning Modules: What You Need to Know About Elearning Modules. (n.d.). eLearning Company. https://elearning.company/custom-solutions-elearning-modules.html#:~:text=An%20eLearning%20module%20is%20a,video%2C%20and%20other%20visual%20elements.

Flipping the Classroom. (n.d.). University of Washington Center for Teaching and Learning. https://teaching.washington.edu/topics/engaging-students-in-learning/flipping-the-classroom/#:~:text=What%20is%20flipping%3F,the%20needs%20of%20individual%20learners.

Rustici Software. (n.d.). SCORM solved and explained. SCORM.com. https://scorm.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=natural_search

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