e-Learning & Instructional Design

I teach most of my courses online right now. In an effort to meet each learner’s needs, I constantly seek ways to improve my courses. Yet, it seems as though I am unable to satisfy everyone. It would be easy to say, “Such is life.” However, I am unwilling to accept it.

I recently learned about the term ADDIE: Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate. Of course, this is what online facilitators do. It is a perpetual cycle. However, I have noticed that as the online learning community develops and grows, so has the process for delivering instruction and content. It has become more sophisticated and fast-paced. Just as the growth of the use of technology in learning has exploded, so is the way we develop and deliver instruction. Yet, we are doing it (supposedly) better, faster, and cheaper. 

Does that mean we are becoming better at it, thus we are able to respond more quickly and thus incurring less costs, or are we just doing more online because of the perceived need to do so? Why I ask is because I have heard online instructors openly complain that their approval ratings go down when they teach online compared with face-to-face.

Some of the comments made by online students at the beginning of the semester are that they desire the online course. By the end of the semester, some of these same students are commenting that they prefer face-to-face. Which is it? What is/are the missing element(s)? Or, could we be in a transition phase?

Obviously, there are easy answers to the above questions, but I am not looking for those. Assume they have been met. I am looking for the answers that are alluding us.