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Welcome to Avant Learning!

Welcome to Avant Learning. We are a company with offices in Victoria, British Columbia on the west coast of Canada on Vancouver Island and in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. As the name Avant Learning implies, we are an innovative group of educational specialists who focus on developing educational solutions in international development. We conduct instructional design projects, intercultural training, and monitoring and evaluation programs.

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Online Learning FAQ for those feeling overwhelmed by online learning

Dr. Aucoin has just written a short article responding to concerns he is hearing from students and instructors feeling overwhelmed by having online learning thrust upon them. It is called Online Learning FAQ for those feeling overwhelmed by online learning and can be found by clicking here

Build and Facilitate Your Online Course in 5 Days!

Many instructors are under pressure to deliver their courses online, whether it is out of necessity to respond to the changing learning environments, or to provide more flexibility for students to learn anytime anywhere.

Online courses, when designed and delivered well, can be a transformative experience. You will need to consider how to foster a learning community and how to use technology effectively. The success will come from your years of teaching experience and your newly acquired skills in online teaching and learning. This free self-paced online workshop will get you ready. It includes easy-to-digest summaries of best practices in the field, practical tools to help you design your own course, and one-on-one coaching to guide you through the process. At the end of the sessions, you will be ready to launch your online course with confidence.

To access the free workshop simply send us an email to

Topics will include the following:


Unit 1


Unit 2

Communities Online

Establishing Instructor Online Presence

Module 3

Effective Online Learning Activities and Assessments

  • Games
  • Simulations
  • Tests
  • Discussions
  • Etc…

Module 4

Online Teams

Module 5

Practice, Reflection and Follow up

BONUS: One-on-one coaching is available via Skype, WhatsApp, or Big Blue Button  (Learner’s choice)


Some advice for folks moving their classes online in a Covid-19 world

I have been teaching online and developing online courses since the mid 1990s. I developed some of the first online courses in Canada while working at York University and Dalhousie University and currently teach 5 online courses per year so I have a bit of experience in designing, teaching and administering online courses.

Many of us are being encouraged to move our courses online for the remainder of the Winter 2020 semester (and I’ll bet the Spring and Summer semesters too) and this is causing some panic among professors, students and administrators alike. My first bit of advice is Don’t Panic. We are all in this together and we will get through it. I promise.

What I have observed over the years is that even when students and faculty are enthusiastic about online learning and have been trained and prepared well…it still takes at least a week after the course starts for them to “get in the groove”. In other words, everyone needs a lot of encouragement and reminders during the 1st week or so to set up an independent learning schedule, to begin the learning activities of reading, watching videos and engaging in online discussions. So let me repeat…even in an ideal environment it takes at least a week for everyone to get comfortable with online learning.

These are not ideal environments. Most of us haven’t been trained, most of our students don’t want to learn online and are neither focussed nor engaged anyway and, if we wait a week for our students to get comfortable, our semester will be over.

So I strongly recommend keeping it simple. I know what you are thinking. “Duh. Of course we keep it simple. And the simplest thing is for me to do a live lecture using Skype or Zoom or something like that.”

I would advise against this in most cases. The problem is that what seems simple is often the most complicated course of action. Yes, you do lectures all the time and so what could be simpler than doing your lecture in front of a camera? It turns out pretty much everything is simpler than doing a lecture in front of a camera. Think through this with me. Live lectures use a lot of bandwidth. Do your students have access? Have they ever used these tools before? Do you have the patience and technical support to help with the 10% of your students who will be unable to connect at 9 AM on a Monday morning? What will you do in this case? Will you wait for them all to connect? Will you go ahead with the live lecture and leave 10% of them behind?

And even if everyone manages to connect miraculously on time (I have never seen it happen in 25 years) how will you show students slides/visuals? How will you deal with questions? Etc… These are all things that can be resolved successfully but not within our limited time using our limited resources.

So here’s what I recommend. You likely already have a Power Point slide show ready for the remaining classes. Give the lecture using voiceovers while looking at the PowerPoint – you can do this within PowerPoint. I have provided a link at the bottom to show how to do this.

Then upload the PPT slide show to YouTube and send the link to the students. I am recommending using YouTube (a) because your students are more used to this environment and (b) your university servers likely cannot handle the extra traffic that is going to be generated in the coming days/weeks.

Then depending on what kind of interaction you want from your students you can ask them to simply email you questions and/or you can create a discussion board on your learning management system. At Queen’s this system is OnQ which is a customised version of Desire to Learn. At my other university we use Moodle. They all basically work the same way.

What is critical is that your students know you are thinking of them and are working on solutions. So stay in touch with them even if only email and make sure they stay in touch with you even if it is just to tell you what the weather is like where they are.

Similarly I am thinking of you guys so send me a note and let me know how things are going….even if it is just the weather report.

If you have any questions of want to bounce ideas around I am available anytime at

The link for PPT voiceovers is:

Robert Aucoin, EdD

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