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Digital Training Delivery

Note: This section is relevant for external training partners of the Centre for Doctoral Studies.  King’s staff should refer to King’s Teaching, learning and assessment with technology pages.

Due to the ongoing restrictions around on-site activity, we are setting out our vision online delivery of researcher development training for the new academic year.

This is guided by King’s Principles of Online Learning and contextualised by the feedback and evaluation process that we have undertaken over the previous months in the Centre for Doctoral Studies.

As a partner in delivering researcher development training, we hope that you will use the principles outlined in this guide for the design of your training session(s).

Designing your session

Face to face sessions do not translate directly to online delivery.  The length, time-commitment, activity types, and how you engage with the participants will need careful consideration.

Blended learning

In most cases training and development delivery is most effective when using a 'blended' approach; a mix of both 'live' (synchronous) and 'in your own time' (asynchronous) learning.

The 'live' elements should be relatively short, focussed, and be participatory.  Sessions would typically be approx. 1 hour, but longer sessions (max. 2 hours) with breakout rooms can be a valuable way to connect with participants.  Synchronous learning is a great opportunity to engage with participants in discussion, feedback, Q&A, and can help to build a sense of community and belonging.  Depending on the depth of the course, you may wish to run one or multiple synchronous elements.

The 'in your own time' elements should prepare learners for, or provide a follow-up from, the live elements, as well as giving an opportunity for independent, collaborative, and active learning.  Asynchronous learning can be spread over several days or weeks.

Designing asynchronous activities

Asynchronous activities can include anything that a participant should do in their own time.  This may include access to resources such as:

  • Reading: links to articles, papers, blog posts, frameworks, policy, documents etc.

  • Media: links to videos on YouTube, TEDx etc.

  • Presentations: you can take sections of your workshop which are 'instructor-led' and pre-record these e.g. as a video, narrated PowerPoint or screencast.

Ensure that you scaffold the resources in a manner which encourages active acquisition of knowledge.  For example, ask questions to consider whilst reading/watching the resource.

Further examples of asynchronous learning activities include:

  • Setting research or investigation tasks to feedback on

  • Short assessments/quizzes with feedback

Interaction, engagement and community can be fostered through asynchronous activities such as:

  • Discussion forums/areas

  • Collaborative or group work (e.g. Padlet, Google Documents, Office365)

  • Consolidating what has been learnt and articulating understanding by producing materials and resources (e.g. posters, presentations, documents, videos etc.) – combine with peer feedback.

Designing synchronous activities

Live activities should generally be kept to 1 hour.  They should encourage active participation and discussion.  You should not simply ‘present’ during these activities – that could be done in the participant’s own time.  Live activities allow for:

  • Breakout groups
  • Whiteboards and annotation of images, documents, screens etc.
  • Screen sharing
  • Text chat
  • Audio/video chat
  • Polling (multiple choice)

Technology to deliver

Zoom: for live elements we will provide you with a Zoom session.  In general we prefer you not to use your own account or alternative software due to potential GDPR issues.

Learning platform: activities will usually be hosted by or linked from the King’s learning platform (KEATS).  If you require access to KEATS this will be provided. 

Other services: if you wish to use any software or platform that is not provided by King’s, please specify this in your proposal.  Please pay attention to any data and privacy policy that the third-party service has, and any potential obstacles such as account sign-up, advertising, and public/private display of information.

Principles of Online Learning at King’s

Underpinning online learning at King’s is a set of eight principles.  Whilst these are written with taught courses in mind, depending on the duration and depth of your course, you may wish to apply these principles in how you structure and design your delivery.

  1. Belonging: encourage a sense of belonging and community in the course by providing a short welcome video introducing yourself or a welcome note. Create opportunities for participants to introduce themselves to each other.
  2. Scaffolding high expectations: set out your expectations at the beginning of the course and how the participants will gain the most benefit from the course
  3. Sustainability: make the role of each activity clear in the bigger picture of achieving the session’s learning objectives
  4. Diverse learning needs: your participants will not all have equal access to technology (shared computer, poor wifi), space/time (shared housing, caring responsibilities, timezones).  You should consider how you can make your session accessible to these diverse needs.
  5. Educator to student interaction: you should make opportunities to engage with participants during activities, such as moderating or replying to discussions..  Having interaction is key to retaining participant engagement.
  6. Student to student interaction: create opportunities for guided participant interaction to reduce isolation online, build a sense of community, and allow participants to learn from each other.  For example, group work, collaboration, or peer feedback.
  7. Active learning: the principle of rebalancing the relationship between an instructor and participant so there is less emphasis on being ‘taught’, and more on being exposed to ideas and concepts and reflecting on them in your context and through your own experiences.  Reflecting on their own learning during the activity (metacognition) provides the link between activity and learning.  This can be achieved through the recommended blend of synchronous and asynchronous activities.
  8. Timely feedback


The activity types outlined here follow those in the ABC Learning Design framework produced by UCL Digital Education.

Principles of Online Learning at King’s [internal resource]

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