Few things have shaken up education more than the recent global pandemic and the massive shift to virtual learning. In 2020, online learning replaced most face-to-face classrooms, as schools locked down to curb the spread of the virus, snowballing the success of a field that has been on a constant upward growth curve. Online education continues to grow in leaps and bounds with virtual learning being the fastest-growing sector in the education industry.
According to KPMG, most corporations use online learning. This can be attested to its endless benefits – effectiveness, flexibility, and easy accessibility when both students and educators are set up for success.
Generally, the benefits of virtual education run deep. To make sure your students are getting the most out of your online teaching, here are 15 tips to inspire you.
The success of online teaching cannot be achieved without a set of guiding rules. As much as students can learn at their pace, there are minimum expectations that you should maintain for successful course delivery.
To begin with, you need to set a schedule and establish boundaries. There should be well-defined timelines for everything – when the students can reach you; time for lessons, group discussions, tests, and feedback; deadlines for assignments, etc. Doing so helps you define the boundaries for the students and yourself.
It can get overwhelming if you fail to restrict the time when students can reach you. In the same way, timely course completion might not be possible if learners don't stick to a particular schedule.
To get the most out of online teaching, ensure you prepare the content ahead of time, and make it available for the students. One benefit of doing this is that students can review the materials at their own time and flag any questions they may have during live streaming sessions. Ultimately, this leads to a better grasp of concepts.
You may be miles away from your students, but you need to make the interaction personal. Ensure you keep finding ways of encouraging engagement. Make a point to refer to your students by name and make time to try to get to know them. Personalizing the interaction can go a long way in creating meaningful instructor-learner relationships.
Lesson quality matters, even in terms of video quality. A resourceful video with poor quality visuals is no better than a hastily done, high-quality video. To increase interest in your courses, ensure you offer them all-around appealing content in terms of length, visual quality, and lesson delivery.
When it comes to online success, half-baked content doesn't cut it. It must be relevant and coherent. Your students rely on the information to excel in their exams and careers.
Take your time to draft a cohesive course structure. Organizing the information into snackable, easy-to-understand lessons will set your students up for success. This can make all the difference for future enrollments.
As much as you want to be available for your students whenever they need you, it may help to foster some independence. You can achieve this by restricting the times when students can reach out to you.
Essentially, you should encourage students to learn independently by setting precise schedules for instruction time, group discussions, and individual study time. Also, availing of study materials ahead of time can go a long way in encouraging the students to study independently.
Games can be a fun part of the learning process. From improving critical thinking and problem-solving skills to boosting attention spans, games can be a great way to learn.
By incorporating different variations of games into your course schedule, you can help develop learning in many ways and consequently improve their performance. Moreover, it helps cultivate competitiveness in students, which motivates them to set and reach goals.
As much as live streaming is essential (especially for question and answer sessions) prioritize recording your lectures. This offers the flexibility and convenience lacking in in-person classes, as the students can watch the lessons during their most convenient time. It also improves course effectiveness as students can re-watch the lectures repeatedly until they understand the concepts.
Besides, recorded lectures ensure students who miss classes due to ill-health or any other inevitable reason can catch up. Also, when you have the courses recorded, you can always review them and revise accordingly.
Audios have their place in content delivery. For instance, a person might want to listen to a podcast while driving, working out, cooking, walking, etc. However, when it comes to classroom lectures, audio might not be as engaging as video.
Showing your face during the lecture is essential in helping boost engagement.
It's expected that at some point, you may want to put up slides, which is great and helpful for learning. But don’t let slides replace your face! Even better, talk directly to the camera, and make sure the view and sound are working properly. This helps in establishing a direct connection with your students.
Long videos provide a poor user experience. Low downloading speed and loss of attention are some of the risks associated with long videos. Aim to keep the videos at 10 minutes or 15 minutes on the maximum. If the lesson exceeds this duration, consider splitting it into another clip.
Successful online courses have one thing in common – they're clear and concise. When it comes to giving instructions, ensure you follow the same strategy. Don't just outline the resources the students should check. Instead, reference the specific areas within those resources where they should go to. For instance, give the exact timestamp where they can find the relevant information.
It’s the student’s responsibility to do the work, but it’s your responsibility to set them up for success. Be sure to keep your expectations in check and communicate them clearly. Do not assume anything, even if it seems obvious. For example, every time students sit for a paper, remind them about submission requirements; don't assume they know.
Group communication provides yet another platform to interact with your students. However, you should be careful not to use it for teaching purposes. Instead, you may use it for other purposes, such as virtual office hours. Set office hours for the group the same way you would in person so that any student who requires admin support can log in and talk to you.
As much as you want to be there for your students, you also want to empower them to figure things out on their own. Set up platforms for small groups of students where they can support and learn from each other.
Consistency helps create a structured learning style. You may wish to experiment with the various techniques you encounter; however, too much context switching can make it hard to focus. identify a teaching style that works for you and adopt it in all your lessons.
Another thing to avoid is simply converting your in-person class model to remote. Each model requires a different approach – from material presentation, learning process, and class interaction. As such, ensure you adopt the right tools that suit the needs of online learning to achieve course effectiveness.
Although the massive shift to virtual learning was sudden, it unveiled some unexpected benefits. From cutting down admin work to easing revision of course material and teaching flexibility, online education has become the preferred method of many students and educators. As you explore the rewards of virtual education, we hope the 15 tips we have shared will help you improve your teaching.
Meanwhile, consider expanding your online teaching abilities with Classavo. We provide a free teaching platform to instructors to create and offer course materials to a pool of students. With powerful tools to manage the student journey and track performance, Classavo allows you the opportunity to mold your students' minds from the comfort of your home. Contact us to learn more.
Ready to learn more about what the best software for online teaching should do for your classroom?