Due to the evolving COVID-19 health crisis, education institutions have been forced to improvise on their delivery and instruction modes. While academic institutions are slowly getting back to classroom-based delivery, many institutions around the globe still prefer using online learning. This way, students can continue with their studies and courses, thanks to the internet and information technology. Many learning institutions have adopted the use of technological pieces such as Zoom, Meet, Skype, Teams, WebEx, and Google Hangouts, to facilitate smoother online learning experiences while at home.
There are numerous advantages of online learning, and this would probably require a piece of its own. However, for successful online learning at home, clarity, excellent reviews, understanding checks, as well as a prompt feedback system are required. Still, one thing is for sure. Since most online learners are doing it for the first time, online educators have a demanding responsibility to create and offer courses that are engaging, interactive, responsive, and well supported. In this piece, we will highlight some practical solutions that will make online learning at home so much easier.
1. Understand the Basic Student and Instructor Needs
For any online learning activity, it is imperative to understand both the student and the instructor’s needs. For example, a student needs a way to access the course and reading materials. They also need to be able to submit their assignments and receive prompt feedback from their online instructors. On the other side, instructors need to deliver quality content and guide students into understanding what to do, when, and how. As listed at edwize.org/best-online-course-platforms/, this is what some of the most trusted online course platforms on the globe provide. From Thinktraffic to Teachable, Udemy, Podia, and the like, online educators can learn a lot from these popular platforms during the pandemic. Also, it is the responsibility of the online instructor to ensure the learner gets prompt feedback on their assignments. The good news though is that, with the help of a good online learning management system, it’s never a hassle.
2. Efficient Student-To-Student Communication
While learning online, students can support each other like they do in an actual class setup. In an actual classroom, a student can turn to a classmate and ask them, ‘hey help me understand this concept”. Similarly, instructors can still use their particular online learning management system to integrate some ways through which students can connect. As an instructor, you may create discussion forums whereby the student can post questions and interact to support each other. Additionally, you can create a 24/7 live session via Zoom rooms, for instance, where your students can engage in then provide the students with the link to join and connect in an online classroom discussion.
3. Access to Additional Learning Resources
During online learning, students will certainly need access to additional and specific learning resources such as a library. These additional resources come in handy to assist them to complete online course assignments and tasks efficiently. Therefore, to ensure smooth access to additional resources, find out what your local library can offer in terms of online resources and then link them up to your course site. Also, find other additional learning materials that are specific to your students’ learning needs and have them easily accessible to them.
4. Balanced Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning
Distance learning can be done with everyone online at the same time (Synchronously), or have students access the same lesson but at different times (asynchronously). Setting up asynchronous online classes whereby everyone is online can be tricky because of people’s different schedules and availability. However, online instructors must include some classes at times when an entire class is in attendance. That way, online instructors cannot only offer prompt responses but also creates a more cohesive connection amongst the entire classroom.
5. Identifying and Supporting Struggling Students
If truth be told, with the current COVID-19 crises, different students are going through different challenges. They may need technical assistance, academic support, mental health support, and so forth. In fact, there are a lot of student psychological needs that are going unaddressed during the Covid pandemic. Therefore, online instructors should be always on the lookout for any struggling student and accord them the necessary assistance. Also, instructors should ensure no student falls behind by sending alerts to them, checklists, background information as well as responses to sample test questions.
Online learning at home may feel overwhelming especially for beginners. However, with the practical solutions offered in this article, we can rise up to the challenge and make online learning at home so much easier. You never know, we may still rely on those skills even after the crises.