After almost 18 months into the compelled online transition of education, educators are figuring out what makes online learning successful. Sure, there are ample tools and resources to bring knowledge to the student but how should it be tied together to deliver a unified experience, like in a traditional setting? There are plenty of factors to consider while creating successful online learning strategies, for example, the individual styles of learning, class management, concept retention, methods of effective assessment, and examinations, to name a few. The National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 sets, or rather resets the context for developing skills in today’s world. More emphasis is placed on critical thinking, communication and collaboration, creativity, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural interactions, and building vocational skills. Relying on traditional teaching methods might not work in a new digital setting anymore and has a tendency to marginalize different learners.
In this article, we explore a few end goals for educators to keep in mind during lesson planning and delivery to make the digital learning experience more fulfilling.
Focus on innovation
Learners must be motivated enough to be engaged by the contents of educational instruction. By charting a progress path, where students are immersed in key topics for a few weeks with practical applications. With the mission of building and fostering creativity, students must be engaged through teaching methods that cater to multiple learning styles. will be able to attain valuable skills that can tackle real problems in their future workplace. Most virtual tools have helpful functions like polls, group creation, and a shared whiteboard. For example, one activity that’s proven to engage all learners is the critical application of material to a practical problem.
Assess interests early
Information regarding personal learning goals, interests, and learning styles should be gathered prior to lessons and relayed to the educator. This helps with proper planning and course corrections, if required, along the learning journey. Many students might be comfortable with learning through schools but some might need to be engaged through other additional learning experiences, for example, gaming and active problem-solving. By making an inventory of these requirements, educators can not only tweak their course materials but also engage emotionally with their students, which makes a big difference in the overall learning experience.
Most teachers might find the online transition difficult when compared to traditional systems. Engagement methods have changed and readying future educators on imparting learning effectively is an important focus area. With face-to-face interactions, adapting to the student’s modalities makes communication more efficient. In online environments, adapting delivery of content with the various learning modalities of the students makes the information more memorable. Educators must understand that their role is to let students continue to learn and be curious and it is their directive to be the hope that lights their future.
Involving parents in the learning process (if they wish to) can also benefit the educator as they can help to reinforce lesson methods. For example, supplementary resources on curriculum subjects can be an activity that the parents can carry out with their children.
Shorter lectures, longer engagement
Time management is often an overlooked factor in online learning. Attention spans on screens are shorter than in a traditional classroom so courses need to be redesigned to facilitate increased engagement within a short period of time. This is one of the important tips for online learning success and if implemented with diligence and follow-up, can work wonders for concept retention. By dividing lectures into bite-sized pieces and worksheets that can tap into their problem-solving capabilities. Students need social interactions more than ever now, so exploring a peer review/ feedback element as a part of the curriculum will go a long way in developing camaraderie remotely and increase analytical skills.
If educational institutions are wondering how to make online learning successful, they need to think beyond the usual classroom curriculum, offering activities that cover class content and students’ interests. Educators must synthesize all ideas generated and demonstrate the progress of practical and convergent thinking. Using Socratic methods like asking open-ended questions, heightens learning and gives students and parents a sense of invested care. Questions that connect to the students’ interests and goals can elicit a lot of information for the educator. In a virtual environment, this can be done using discussion forums where each student gets to participate. There might be some pushback on the methods, from parents or students, simply because they are new and there could be concerns about the digital retrofitted version. Institutions must allay fears with their research on why these methodologies might work and underline the fact that the student’s progress through acquisition of skills is the ultimate goal of all planned activities. Having said this, continuous feedback must be solicited from both parties to continuously improve and test pedagogical methods.