Transitioning to online learning is a huge task for schools and teachers around the world today. Regardless if education institutions have all the tools and resources, there will be challenges that can hinder teachers and students from producing their best work. This transition is an opportunity for schools to become more agile with their teaching methods by paving innovative learning experiences that create positive and effective results outside of the classroom.
Here are 5 obstacles you are likely to face and strategies to overcome them.
1: Managing content
One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to streamlining online learning is how the content is delivered. Uploading resources that have been scanned from textbooks and putting it in a Learning Management System (LMS) or creating PowerPoint presentations for students to read isn’t going to cut it. Without the use of dynamic elements or human interaction, it can be difficult for students to engage with the learning content.
While having a Learning Management System (LMS) is a great start, think about different ways to filter your content and make the learning more fun and stimulating. This includes:
- Short and Simple: Keep the content short, simple, and direct. The depth of the content can be provided through the delivery.
- Record your lectures: Some students might not be able to attend classes so recording your lectures will let them catch up on anything they’ve missed out on. Remember to test the software to ensure it’s recording correctly.
- Virtual interactions: What might conversations and collaborations look like online? With isolation decreasing social interactions almost completely for some students, it’s even more important for them to connect and continue developing soft skills.
- Independent research: You don’t need to provide all the information. Encourage your students to find extra resources and share their findings with the class.
2: Setting expectations
Communicating procedures and guidelines before you start is imperative in providing confidence to your students as they are likely to be new to eLearning. Without providing clear instructions on how things will work it’ll be difficult to navigate where to start and what to do with assessments and exams. To implement this you need to communicate:
- Best modes of contact: Let your students know that they can get support if they have technical difficulties. The LMS is there to make their life simpler, rather than harder. Let them know how to best get support.
- Managing assignments and assessments: Let your students know how and what they will be tested. If it is their first time taking a test online, it could be a little intimidating.
- Additional Resources: Provide additional resources. Not only relating to the course, but also making the most of online learning.
3: The Human Touch
Because the shift to online learning can be so significant, teachers mustn’t forget about the heart of learning: adding the human touch. Creating a classroom community outside of the traditional space requires deep empathy and understanding from the teacher. Teachers must find ways of making online classes as engaging as traditional face-to-face classes.
This can include:
- Humanising and taking ownership of your subject by recording a welcome video for your students upon sign in.
- Sharing insight into what you are doing outside work, therefore encouraging and motivating them to get involved in productive activities too.
- Creating a space in your LMS specifically dedicated for students to share their pics, videos and resources that relate to a particular subject or theme.
- Encouraging others such as industry experts or students to get involved in the delivery of the course content.
There are numerous ways of making online learning engaging, it just requires a little bit of thinking outside the box.
4: Ask for feedback
When transitioning into a new way of learning, there are ample opportunities to get feedback and learn from them. Encourage students to speak freely and provide feedback on what is working and isn’t. In addition to directly asking for feedback, let students anonymously provide feedback at the end of all courses.
Different students learn differently. Use the feedback being provided along with the personalisation features provided by tools like Tempus LMS to deliver the most value.
5: Catering for the classroom and not your students
With an abundance of learning styles and levels in your classroom and one medium to deliver in, it can be a trap to stick to one way of teaching. Luckily with online learning, teachers have more power and command to teach classrooms with varying levels of competencies. Use these features to:
- Allow students to self-pace. Set the desired learning outcome and let your students get there in a pace they are comfortable with.
- Encourage students to take ownership of their learning. Push students to do their own research and use the additional resources provided to gain a greater understanding of the content.
- Encourage teamwork. For students who enjoy collaboration, you can also allocate tasks and assignments that can be completed in groups. Within Tempus LMS your students can undertake group assignments, schedule group meetings and create group chats to collective work as a team.
The education industry in the Philippines is currently going through a change out of necessity. This is a great opportunity for schools, universities, teachers and eLearning specialists to work together to build systems that deliver the most value to the students. While these are 5 strategies to mitigate some of the challenges that you will face, there will be a learning curve from most.
Speak to one of our eLearning specialists who can help make this transition easier for you and your students.