The Thinking Stage has four component sections or what we call steps: Mission, Determine Outcomes, Learning Theory, and Design Instruction.
This step deals with the primary questions such as, Why you are attempting an online course? How does it fit into the mission and vision of your university, school, department, or even your personal mission? Going through this step will help form a Mission & Vision for the course that will serve as the core against which all other steps should be checked.
Determine Outcomes (2)
Once the Mission step has been well understood, you should get more specific. Essentially, what are the expected outcomes once the course is finished? What goals do you expect to accomplish? In this step, we encourage you to think about and document your expected outcomes.
Learning Theory (3)
The next, and often forgotten question is, how do people become like what you have envisioned? In other words, under what circumstances, do people attain the goals, or outcomes that you have set? Going through this step prepares you to design the crucial experiences and activities needed in step 4 (Design Instruction).
Design Instruction (4)
Once the outcomes have been determined and you have a good understanding of how your students learn different types of outcomes, the instructional design process can now be initiated (while the language here implies that this step does not start until the previous step--Learning Theory--has been “completed,” we repeat our belief that you will probably not find the process to be an exclusively linear process). In this step we find the experiences or activities that will provide the student needs in order for them to attain the expected outcomes. Further, we will guide you in choosing how to assess the learners growth.