In the following paragraphs, I've described several mistakes in designing e-Learning that you should avoid if you can. Please. Otherwise people look at the mistakes and think that they define e-Learning, and it gives the rest of us a bad name.
1) Pretending Google doesn't exist.
Building a test that students can answer by having a second tab open . . . that's akin to educational malpractice. Multiple choice questions are almost always Google-able, though with practice you can write questions that get up to Analyze or Evaluate in the taxonomy, and those are Google-proof. It really does bring down the whole "testing" house of cards, now that our students have unlimited access to the collective knowledge of the world by touching their communicator and saying "Computer, how long will it take to reach Alpha Centauri at present warp-speed?"
Learning online without any peer support isn't as dangerous as climbing free-solo, but it's not very fun, either. If at all possible, set up your classes so that kids keep pace with each other throughout the term of the class. This is beneficial to the students because they are social beings--we were all created to be in relationship. This is beneficial to the course designer because it allows for productive forums, discussions, and peer-reviews, all of which are off-limits if students are to go through the courses entirely at their own pace without a cohort to go with.
2) Climbing Free-Solo
This may be beyond your control, if you're developing e-Learning in a system that embraces start-whenever scheduling, but it's worth thinking long and hard about.
3) Crowning Yourself "King Curator"Do you remember the old days of the internet? Back when people still capitalized the "i"?
In the nineties, Yahoo was developing a fabulous service of categorizing the knowledge of the Internet. If you wanted to find the homepage of the Raiders, you had to either know the URL or try searches that would pull up all kinds of irrelevant results, OR you could navigate your way into www.yahoo.com | sports | football | NFL and look under the R's. I thought that's how the future would be, that the best categorizing service for websites would win. So did Yahoo.
So should we curate no links for our kids? Maybe. To reference my Studies in Shakespeare class again, there is one assignment where I basically say "So, there's this guy named Shakespeare who wrote plays. Please go educate yourself about him and create this timeline using such-and-such online timeline creation tool and give me the link. Here's a Project Checklist you need to use as you work, so you know your project meets my requirements." That's an example where I really gave them no leg up at all, because I know that it's hard to go very wrong with a search like "guy named Shakespeare." Then there's another assignment about iambic pentameter, and for that one I give them four good links and ask them to find three more that are similar and better. I tell them that I'll use their better links in the next round of Studies in Shakespeare, but really I want each student to see some pretty okay links and spend the time to find the better ones for himself.
It is good to curate resources for your kids in order for them to have a starting place, but to allow them to curate is better.