learning design

Creating effective learning experiences

As a learning designer I create workshops or courses in a variety of subject areas, often working with people who are experts in their field. Since my background is in education and I hold deep knowledge in how to design and develop effective learning experiences, I am often hired by organizations or people who know their subject matter but aren’t sure how to bring it to life for their participants. I draw on activities and processes to help make your learning event not only effective, but fun and engaging! My experience lies across the range of face-to-face to online modes, described in more depth below.


When I design for the face-to-face (in person) mode I create structured lesson plans – not just PowerPoint slides. I write measurable learning outcomes and incorporate ways to assess those outcomes to ensure participants will learn the material. I intersperse small chunks of content delivery with a variety of participatory activities through which people can apply their learning, individually and in various-sized groups. The face-to-face workshops I create are neither “presentations” nor “lectures”; they are active learning experiences for all.

Recent Example: I provided learning design services to the Community Social Planning Council in Victoria to help create lesson plans for the Youth Financial Literacy Experience series. This was a five-session face-to-face workshop series to help marginalized youth build financial literacy skills.

“Beth developed a course for our School of Health and Human Services. Beth’s ability to acquire resources, develop curricula and liaison with a multi-disciplinary department was of the highest calibre. I valued Beth’s knowledge, flexibility and professionalism. It was a pleasure to work with Beth.”

– Joan Astren, School of Health and Human Services, Camosun College –

Asynchronous Online

Asynchronous online courses are usually several weeks in duration and are taken by a class of participants together. I have worked as a learning designer on hundreds of these types of courses. In this mode a facilitator is usually actively “present” online to guide participants’ learning and participants are able to engage in a variety of individual, small group and whole group work. Asynchronous means “not at the same time”, which means that participants usually have some flexibility across the duration of each week or unit to access and participate in the online course when it is convenient to them, while maintaining social presence with the group.

Recent Example: I designed and developed several versions of a seven-week online course in Lay Navigation for cancer-related organizations such as the BC Cancer Agency and Canadian Cancer Society. Participants in these courses are volunteers who are learning how to provide support to cancer patients.

“Beth has a tremendous work ethic and the skills, knowledge, and ability to turn ideas into actions that produce positive and meaningful outcomes. We highly recommend Beth!”

– Lisa Mort-Putland, Executive Director, Volunteer Victoria –

Synchronous Online

Synchronous online courses or sessions take place in web conferencing systems, such as Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Adobe Connect, Zoom or GoToMeeting, and are actively facilitated by one or more people. I often work with organizations who want to integrate this type of learning into their asynchronous online courses. I have also designed many short ‘standalone’ synchronous online sessions that aren’t part of a larger course. In this mode I strive to create participatory and interactive sessions instead of uni-directional presentations.

Recent Example: I created and facilitated a three-week online course for BCcampus called “Facilitating Learning Online – Synchronous”. It features a blend of both asynchronous and synchronous online learning. The course offers participants the opportunity to facilitate a short mini-lesson to begin to develop both the teaching and technical skills needed to teach synchronously online.

“Beth developed an exceptional training program to prepare volunteers to provide post treatment support to cancer patients. I had no experience with online facilitation and Beth was in BC while I was in Nova Scotia. It was an absolute pleasure working with Beth. Her organizational and facilitation skills made the process so easy. She has a great sense of humor and is clearly passionate and skilled at what she does.”

– Kim Veino, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, Canadian Cancer Society – Nova Scotia –


E-learning courses are online self-study courses that learners complete on their own, without the presence of a facilitator or other participants. When designing in this mode two of my key considerations are to write measurable learning outcomes that can be accomplished by the learner when learning alone and to create learning modules that are interactive and motivating for the learner. I usually use Articulate Storyline 360 for this kind of work, which allows me to create custom interactions and gives me access to dozens of templates, images and character sets. I have also created self-study e-learning courses in Moodle and with Articulate Rise.

Recent Example: For the BC Cancer Agency I provided learning design and development services to create an e-learning course called “Orientation to Patient and Family Engagement”. This Storyline course featured click-and-reveal, quiz, drag and drop, and matching interactions, to name a few.

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