In the past year, the necessity of distance learning has led to a surge of online education material, including material for sports nutrition courses. Some of these have been put together hastily in response to need or opportunity, making it increasingly important to evaluate your options critically.
Drawing on our 13 years of experience and success, we’ve compiled the following list of features essential to a strong sports nutrition course. As you review vendors, evaluate them according to these six points. The list will help ensure that you provide your students with the best possible education and the most effective sports nutrition online course materials.
1. Customizable Courses
One of the greatest trends in health science education across the board is the shift toward learner-focused pedagogy and differentiated learning. Of course, you want the ability to tailor courses to meet the needs of different classes, but you also want to help individual students succeed regardless of their prior knowledge base and learning style.
The right sports and fitness nutrition course will take advantage of online technology in order to tailor student experiences based on their paces, skills, and learning styles. E-learning personalization can allow both teacher and student to identify knowledge gaps, receive immediate feedback, provide supplemental material, and present information in different ways.
Education should happen through a dynamic conversation in which students work with the system in order to benefit from it.
The best online education providers develop courses with multiple tools for individual customization:
- Practice quizzes that students can take at their own pace to help them identify areas that need improvement
- Supplemental resources that reinforce key concepts
- Multimedia lectures and presentations
- Instructor reports to help teachers monitor progress and real-time engagement
- Additional study aids that can help students practice or review important information
Make sure your sports nutrition online course responds to the needs of institutions, teachers, and specific students.
2. Learning Management System
A Learning Management Systems (LMS) takes care of course administrative work, freeing teachers and students to focus on education and content. A good system can make an enormous difference in the experience of all involved.
An LMS should be intuitive and easy to use. It should also reduce the amount of time that teachers spend on tasks their computers can do as well or better.
When developing your course, you need to ask whether you want one with a built-in LMS or one that is compatible with a pre-existing LMS already in use at your institution, such as Moodle, Canvas, Blackboard, or Desire2Learn. Depending on the size and scope of your offerings, it may be worth investing in a broader, high-quality LMS if your institution has not already done so.
The best vendors will offer you the flexibility to choose either option. Case in point: Caduceus International Publishing partnered with Dev IQ to develop a mobile-friendly application with courses that can be exported to an outside LMS with ease. A clean user interface reduces student distractions, and the Teacher’s Dashboard enables instructors and teaching assistants to collaborate and to monitor and engage their students.
3. Exam Proctoring
Caduceus’s modernized app also integrates online proctoring services, bringing us to the third element of good sports nutrition online courses: exam proctoring.
Students and teachers alike should take exams seriously, and academic dishonesty has proven to be one of the biggest hurdles for online learning to overcome.
Tests measure whether students have mastered concepts that are crucial to their own well-being as well as the health of future potential clients or patients. Without accountability and oversight, student assessment results lack the credibility that hard-working students deserve.
Industry leader ProctorU and similar companies can give your courses the integrity your institution requires while freeing up instructor time and offering students new flexibility. Even if your course is hybrid — rather than fully online — students who have difficult commutes or demanding schedules can benefit from online proctoring.
4. Cross-Device Accessibility
Your students need to be able to access their sports nutrition curriculum on the go, using their phones and tablets to engage in course materials and submit assignments.
More and more people primarily access the internet through mobile devices. In fact, 2020 usage statistics reveal that mobile devices accounted for more than half of all internet traffic, surpassing desktops.
When it comes to education, the numbers indicate that mobile compatibility is even more essential. Nearly 90% of postsecondary students use their mobile devices to look for online study programs, and more than two-thirds of students employ them to complete part or all of their online coursework.
Mobile optimization is a matter of ethics as well as enrollment numbers. Unreliable or limited access to high-speed internet contributes to the digital divide — the gap in attainment and income between those who are able to profit from the digital age and those who are not.
In late 2020, the Manifest conducted a survey on online education in high schools and universities. It discovered that low-income and rural students frequently lacked home computers and/or consistent access to high-speed internet and feared their grades would suffer accordingly.
In our commitment to affordable, quality education for all, Caduceus has developed online content that is cheaper than print alternatives and can be accessed on mobile devices as well as desktops. We ask that learning institutions help level the playing field with providers that support mobile learning and don’t rely on Wi-Fi or home computers.
5. Certified High-Quality Content
Access means little unless it leads to content that is high-quality and reliable. During your sports nutrition curriculum development, you want to search for certified course materials that are strong in both content and design.
The internet’s democracy can occasionally backfire, and it is important to make sure that your health science curriculum stays current and dependable.
Look for courses that are co-authored by respected experts in the field of sports nutrition. Vendors should be transparent about their sources and authors. Many will provide a short bio for the author with a list of accreditations. If they don’t, you might try researching the author independently to assure yourself of their proficiency and check out any affiliations.
Vendors may also focus their programs differently. Major e-learning retailers might have a course catalog that includes everything from sewing to Shakespeare, and quality may vary. Caduceus limits itself to health science education in order to maintain the same standard of excellence across all of its offerings.
Breadth and depth also matter. The needs of an introductory overview class will not be the same as those of an advanced seminar. Your course materials should cover the nutritional needs, fuels, performance enhancements, anatomy, and psychology appropriate to your sports nutrition curriculum.
You want material that is intentionally designed according to tried pedagogical principles — material that will help your students master course content. How can you introduce important health concepts in a way that lends itself to a real-world application?
Look for providers that offer clear course objectives and tools to help students achieve them, including:
- Multimedia presentations
- Active learning strategies
- Checks for student understanding/opportunities for self-assessment
As you research, take advantage of review sites and examine certifications critically, verifying that they come from reputable sources. Caduceus takes pride in being ranked in the 95th percentile by Quality Matters due to the high standards demanded by its official course reviews.
6. Ongoing Customer Support
You want to work with a company that will respond to high-level concerns and also take care of user difficulties. Your course materials vendor should be available to handle problems for instructors and students of a sports nutrition course.
In 2020’s universal shift to remote learning, far too many teachers and department members wound up serving as unofficial tech support, fielding routine questions such as “How do I log on?” or “How do I access [x] feature?” Strong and consistent customer support is essential to e-learning. Without it, students get frustrated and teachers get diverted into roles that make poor use of their expertise.
Caduceus provides your classes with a detailed support page with answers to frequently asked questions for both students and instructors. Users with less routine queries can take advantage of our helpline or contact us for assistance via email. Rather than send you to an automated directory, our dedicated support staff always personally responds to inquiries.
Make the Right Choice
At Caduceus International Publishing, we are committed to health science education that leads to positive health outcomes. Our courses address the needs of schools, teachers, and students — as well as the people whom new graduates may serve.
Your academic community deserves nothing less than a retailer who will match that investment and deliver the quality materials you need. If you are unsatisfied with your current vendor or developing a new sports nutrition curriculum, contact us with any questions or concerns.
We respect your desire to personally vet and experiment with material before committing to it, which is why we offer a free 30-day trial. Try it now, and see what a difference the right sports nutrition course materials can make.