Online education has gained incredible popularity in recent years. Cross-border trade, multinational corporations, and the latest outbreak of coronavirus have greatly contributed to e-learning development. Specialized teaching platforms are a booming trend. Teachers, previously bound to the classroom, now have an opportunity to go online and share their experience and knowledge with the worldwide audience.
It should be kept in mind, however, that online education has a huge difference compared to classroom teaching. Methods used in face-to-face classroom communication may prove unworthy for online learning. To make an e-learning course effective and engaging, it is crucial that teachers adjusted their teaching techniques or created new ways of interacting with students in an online environment. Let’s take a look at these five strategies you can consider to enhance your teaching performance and turn your e-course into a felicitous experience for you and your students.
Communicate with Your Students Online
Without an opportunity to be physically present in the lesson, like you did in the classroom, it is highly important to establish virtual communication with your students. From the very beginning of the online course, teachers should put effort to engage their learners and build an effective and supportive environment.
“Start with the welcoming part. Greet your students and find out more about their personal qualities, interests, and goals. First, introduce yourself with a short story, then ask your learners to tell about themselves”, recommends a Pro-Papers education blogger Paula McDonald. You can interact with your learners through online commenting, blog posts, social networks, or forums – whatever can help you establish a dialogue and involve them in discussions.
Make sure that you are reachable for them. Let your students know when and how they can contact you if they need a leg up, or who can help them if you are out of reach.
By showing your virtual presence as a teacher, you manifest to your students that you are concerned about their progress and ready to help them.
Build a Learning Community
A classroom teacher is usually aimed at giving as much information as they can fit in one lesson. Online teacher, however, acts more like an orchestra conductor. In this role, you have an excellent opportunity to build a strong community of learners, who will be assisting, challenging, and supporting each other.
Set up an open online space, like a forum or a discussion board, where students will be able to post their thoughts, help each other with home assignments, and engage in discussions. Or divide them into smaller groups and arrange a competition for the best problem solution.
These strategies will teach them a vast array of skills, like teamwork, problem-solving, good communication, and conducting research.
Mix Up Different Tools to Make Learning More Engaging
Today we are lucky to have a great variety of tech innovations to turn an online learning space into an engaging and effective experience.
The best online educators use a blend of synchronous and asynchronous tasks, combining traditional classroom learning styles with more up-to-date tools, like audio and video records, or even VR- and AR-applications. Manipulation with different styles and types of content makes the whole learning process more interesting and engrossing. Also, it increases the effectiveness of education and turns it into a fun adventure.
Provide Timely Feedback
Opportune feedback is one of the key components of any learning environment – online in particular. By giving your constructive opinion and apt recommendations regularly you make sure that students don’t move through the course blindfolded. It helps them identify their weak spots and focus on improving them. Or maybe understand sooner that they move in the wrong direction and adjust their learning strategy. Whatever the case is, the teacher’s feedback helps online learners to stay motivated, persistent, and effective in their efforts throughout the whole course.
Alternatively, you may encourage students into assessing each other’s assignments and progress. In doing so, you would make them approach critically their peers’ performance and be determined in finding the grain of truth. Moreover, it may be a good way to do a gap analysis or teach them to defend their point of view. Be attentive though – too much pressure can easily turn a peaceful dispute into a fight.
Make Your Online Course Mobile
In a world, where every learner – from a secondary school student to a corporate worker – uses their mobile devices for studying, it would be unwise to deny the importance of mobile education.
Mobility is, probably, the key advantage of online learning. It allows students to access the most recent and relevant course content and learning materials anywhere and anytime. With a carefully structured plan and easily digestible informational blocks, students are free to go through the course at their speed, making it both a productive and fascinating experience.
That is why it is crucial to have your e-learning course compatible with smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It will also demonstrate that you are on the same page with the tech world and that you understand the needs of modern learners. No doubt, a teacher, well-versed in modern trends, will have more credibility.
Implementing these 5 strategies helped me to stay confident about my teaching style and the progress of my students. Moreover, you’ll manage to build an exciting and learner-driven space, where students feel understood and supported. After all, this is exactly what is required for effective learning.