10 Strategies for Online Learning during the Coronavirus Outbreak
Before 2020, online learning had more of a positive persona, i.e., a mode of study ensuring equal opportunities. The struggles involved in remote learning were more or less neglected considering the mega-benefits of distance learning.
One could graduate from their dream university without having to bear the travel expenses. Similarly, one could acquire formal education at cheaper rates instead of none at all (given they couldn’t afford their local institutes). Thus, the entire idea was rarely ever associated with challenges.
2020, however, turned the tables. When everyone had to switch to online learning (from juniors to seniors), the true challenges and obstacles came into view. The lack of technological equity and imbalance in computer literacy made it difficult for schooling systems to transition to virtual learning platforms smoothly. Disciplining younger students and delivering knowledge that direly demanded hands-on activities was a whole next-level challenge for educators.
On that very note, here in this article, we will look into the top 10 best strategies for learning online, most of which come from experts’ experience during the pandemic.
Keep a Diverse Communication Toolkit Ready
All students may not have access to the latest tech or a super-fast internet connection. Thus, administrators and educators must offer versatile and flexible access. If some mobile app or software is out of your student’s reach, ensure they have an alternative available. For example, some of the best tools and apps that you can include in the communication toolkit are:
- Microsoft Teams
Use a Variety of Organizing Tools
If you are freshly shifting from paper to keyboard, you might want to get yourself a new set of organizing tools and stationary. Virtually, you can use tools like Trello, Dropbox, G-Drive, and ClickUp to organize yourself. There are classroom organizing elements in eLearning tools (such as the Assignments section in Microsoft Teams).
For physical reminders on your desk or near your desk, we recommend using magnetic whiteboards. You can clip on your dues for the day or list them. Once done, erase them off, so you need not stress yourself out unnecessarily. The good part about organizing yourself with a magnetic whiteboard is you save on loads of paper!
Focus More on Independent Learning
As mentioned earlier, not all parents will be able to give extensive hours to their children. You need to direct the students towards a more independent mode of learning.
For this, you can encourage self-evaluation. You can ask your students to write a letter to a student enrolling in the same subject next year. Ask them to outline the challenges they faced upon completing a chapter or project. And also, elaborate on how they overcame the mentioned challenge.
Integrate Studies with Emotions
Be it, physical class or virtual class, most students lose interest because they are unable to relate. Begin asking your students to vocalize their feelings regarding a specific thing or phenomenon they learned about lately. And you will see them becoming more aware and attuned to the subject.
Set Learning Milestones & Rewards
One way of disciplining online learners is to set up mini-goals. Encourage your students to develop a personalized and customized learning plan for each topic you begin and monitor their progress over time. For yourself, you can set up timers and breaks upon meeting each goal.
Issue an Expectation Bill. And Co-ordinate.
Perhaps, one of the best strategies to operate smoothly is to outline every detail. Whether you’re an administrator or an educator dealing with online learning, you ought to outline a complete mechanism of the part of this online school that comes under your care. For example, if you’re an instructor of a secondary class, let the school management know about the resources you will need to set up a virtual classroom.
Similarly, let the parents know about the amount of input you will require from them (if any). In case of any special requests or concerns (such as time management concerns that you’re likely to receive from WFH parents), ensure you co-ordinate and mutually work out a solution.
Repeat Your Lessons At Least Thrice (Blended)
When learning online, things may not be delivered as smoothly as physical classes on either end. Sometimes you don’t explain well, but the students are too distracted to raise a concern. And other times, it’s the internet messing up the communication. So, it’s best to repeat your lessons at least thrice in three different lessons. Blend it in with newer lectures. So, you don’t waste time.
Address the Uncertainty in Air instead of Ignoring. Be Real.
COVID is in the air and we cannot deny that. Often, students in your class may be stressed personally about it. You never know what’s going on behind the screen.
So, during your classes, ensure that you talk about the current COVID situation. Deliver the necessary precautionary and recovery knowledge that your students should know. Inquire about their concerns as well. In this way, their learning time will have more of a realistic edge to it than a fictional one.
Acknowledge the Co-existence of Non-Academic Lives in Classrooms
Similar to addressing COVID, don’t neglect the fact your student is sitting in their bedroom while attending their class. They can get lethargic and distracted.
To address this, ensure you take a step ahead and encourage your students to set up a proper space where they sit upright, attentive, and isolated. As their lead, there’s no point shying away from such suggestions and instructions. Also, let them cater to a family member’s call or an emergency when need be. It only makes you considerate towards them, instilling a sense of sincerity in them (towards you).
Prioritize Screen-less Breaks
Lastly, do not forget that you and your students spend too much time in front of the screens. It’s deteriorating both physical and mental health, which is affecting overall performance. So, schedule screen-less activities for the classroom as much as screen-oriented ones, such as offline projects.