As online resources continue to improve, students benefit even more when professors work to maximize their teaching opportunities. Simple changes in an eLearning course can significantly improve user engagement and learner retention.
There are many skills an online professor needs, including flexibility and the ability to adapt. Learning how to make changes, no matter how minor, to improve your eLearning course will improve students' overall learning experience. Here’s how to do that.
Being attentive to the user interface (UI) is one of the most important things you can do to create a quality learning environment. User interface design refers to the visual and aesthetic elements that form the interactive environment your students see and use.
It's one of the first things your students face, so it sets the tone for your course. This includes color schemes, typography, graphics, sounds, and other design elements.
Ensure that font styles and sizes are easy to read and are compatible with your color choices. You want to ensure that all visual elements are suitable for those with visual impairments, epilepsy, or other concerns. In addition, check your videos and slides to ensure they work on mobile devices.
Your students are busy and often study on the go, so a mobile-friendly course is imperative. The goal should be to create a user interface that is not visually overwhelming or difficult to navigate. A student who gets frustrated immediately with the UI may let that carry over into your course.
Your online classroom is full of students from different backgrounds. In many cases, they will have vastly different educational and career goals. However, bringing your students together into a supportive learning environment is important.
Allow a few minutes before or after live class sessions to get to know each other. You can also encourage them to use a group space for questions, brainstorming, and consulting with one another. Allowing them to connect with others will add a social aspect that students miss from traditional classrooms and make the virtual classroom feel personal.
Giving direct, specific instructions reduces the chances of confusion, ambiguity, or misunderstandings. Be straightforward so students know what you expect and how to approach their assignments.
Being direct can involve many things, including:
Recording lectures ahead of time has a couple of benefits. First, if students can access your course material at any time, they won't miss out on course content if they have to skip a live lecture for some reason. It reduces class disruptions due to internet outages or technical glitches.
Pre-recorded lessons will allow you to preview the content to ensure the audio is clear and easy to understand. You can also review it to ensure you include all pertinent information. It also reduces your teaching burden because it will free up your live class time and allow you to focus on discussions and answering student questions now and in the future.
Remember those that have gone before you and have created exceptional resources. Open Educational Resources (OER) allow you to use materials from others that align with your course goals and syllabus.
Look for lectures that cover topics in your course, open textbooks that you can keep updated with current statistics and events, a virtual simulation, or supplementary study materials. Utilizing these resources will allow you more time to work on other aspects of your course and time to be more available for office hours and student needs.
When considering creating a supportive environment for your students, you must make yourself available. You are their professor, but learning how to foster relationships will allow them to trust you as their teacher and care more about your courses.
Set virtual office hours through video conferencing so students can reach you for questions or more thorough discussions. Use some of your office hours or specific times to respond to student emails. Give thoughtful and personal responses so they feel heard and supported.
In addition, asking your students for feedback is another simple way to gain their trust and learn how to adapt your course or teaching style. You can ask your students to answer a simple survey anonymously or spend a few minutes asking a few direct questions after a live discussion.
Examples of questions you might ask include:
As you incorporate student feedback and make changes, keep an eye on your students' progress. Monitoring analytics allows you to see changes in student engagement and performance. This will enable you to determine which changes are most helpful and how student feedback can continue to enhance your course.
If you are looking for a way to transform your teaching and improve your eLearning course, Classavo has the tools you need for success. You can create a genuinely engaging course by tracking attendance, creating unique assignments, and assessing data-driven analytics. Contact us to try a free demo or to learn more about Classavo's innovative approach to online learning.
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