Skip to content
What Is a VLE Platform - two people sat working on a laptop

What Is ‘High-Quality’ Online Education? What Makes a Poor Experience?

Key takeaways

1. Many online programs remain low quality, despite online learning increasing in popularity since COVID.

2. High-quality online programs should include an intuitive learning journey, clearly defined learning objectives, and more.


Article contents

1. What makes an online education experience poor?

2. High-quality online education with insendi

3. Summary


Like in-person education, online education should be high quality to ensure that learners are getting the best experiences possible. In this article, we explore what ‘high-quality’ online education really means by outlining the key characteristics that define both high-quality and low-quality online learning programs.


man sits at laptop annoyed


What makes an online education experience poor?

Unfortunately, many online learning programs have often “escaped evaluation and oversight” (IIEP, 2023), especially since the COVID pandemic saw an increase in popularity of online learning. Although ‘quality’ can be hard to define, there are certain standards online learning programs should follow and many tell-tale signs of poor quality that learners look out for when choosing a program. Here are a few:


Missing or vague learning objectives

Without learning objectives, learners are unable to understand what they should be learning from the program and where their abilities should be by the end of it. This not only confuses learners when choosing a program but also leaves them without guidance during the learning process. Similarly, learning objectives that are too vague leave too much room for misinterpretation. Always make sure your online learning program has one or two clearly-defined learning objectives that are communicated from the outset.


Lack of opportunities for collaboration

Online learning programs should not only allow for collaboration but also encourage it. This could range from group discussions to group projects, one-on-ones between learners and educators to peer feedback. A high-quality online learning program will always provide opportunities for building community, since “without it, students are simply learning on their own” (Alvarado, 2020).


woman sits at computer frustrated


No/few course materials

Course materials are key to learning and promoting learner autonomy. They encourage learners to become more independent in their education by providing them with supportive documents and activities to use in their own time. A high-quality online program would provide course materials that contain a variety of formats to appease all learning styles, including text-based materials and videos.


Lack of online teaching skills

Despite the increasing popularity of online learning over the past few years, there is still a lack of training for educators teaching online. A high-quality online program provider should ensure that the educators teaching the modules are proficient in online teaching. At the very least, educators should be knowledgeable in online technology, such as online course creators or LMSs, and know how to effectively engage learners in an online setting.


Unintuitive learning journey

Many online program providers believe it sufficient to simply upload the materials used in face-to-face teaching onto an online platform. However, the learning journey in an online experience differs from that in a traditional classroom, as well as differing from learner to learner. A high-quality online program will recognise these differences and successfully create a logical, engaging learning journey that moves learners through the program at a suitable pace. Seeking advice from an expert digital learning team is a guaranteed way to achieve this.


woman sits at laptop with her head in her hands


Lack of interactive activities

It’s important that any online learning experience includes plenty of opportunities to interact with the program, such as via quizzes, discussion boards, polls, and other engaging features. When people are engaged in their learning, they switch from absorbing ideas passively to taking in new knowledge and ideas actively. Plus, since “the only reason we learn is so that we can do” (Alvarado, 2020), it’s important that the ‘doing’ begins during the learning process and not only after it.


High-quality online education with insendi

insendi offers the ‘insendi Quality Guarantee’ as standard with all of our partnerships - but what does this mean for institutions choosing the insendi services or platform? Below you can find more information on our Quality Guarantee’s key features, what this means for our partners, and the Quality Matters (QM) framework.


The insendi Quality Guarantee

For all partnerships, whether for institutions using insendi services to build multiple programs or just one course, we offer the insendi Quality Guarantee. This promises our partners that we are not satisfied with the results of the development of courses and programs until all their stakeholders and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are. It also guarantees that if there are any extra edits, additional resources to create, or last-minute amendments, we action those as needed. Partner institutions can always reach out to a member of the insendi team if they have any concerns or questions, such as about the results of our partnership, the insendi platform, or technical support. Furthermore, the guarantee means that we carry out rigorous quality assurance checks during which all courses and programs are thoroughly assessed internally by the insendi team before delivery.

Our Quality Guarantee also promises partners that we will adequately adhere to any specific design parameters identified by individual institutions.



Learn more: How To Make a Great Online Program


QM logo


The Quality Matters Framework

The Quality Matters framework is an internationally-renowned best practice standard for the development of online education. It helps online learning platforms, such as the insendi platform, to deliver on promises of quality online education. The framework also centres on continuous improvement, meaning quality is always guaranteed. The aspects of an online course that are monitored to ensure this quality include course design, course delivery, course content, faculty readiness, learner readiness, and more.




What’s included in the insendi Quality Guarantee for all partners:

  • Full technical support
  • A promise that we’re not happy with the results until you are
  • A promise to action last-minute edits
  • Internal rigorous quality assurance checks
  • Adherence to the Quality Matters framework


Don't let your online programs be low in quality. Enlist the help of online learning experts!




How Good? Online Learning’s Quality Problem. (2023). Mary Burns. Read it here.

Online Learning Is Not The Problem, Bad Design Is. (2020). Luis Alvarado. Read it here.