Online Learning

The advent of E-learning has enabled global networking between teachers and students regardless of territories and time-zones. It is also seen skeptically as a reliable and robust alternative for institutional education.

On various grounds, especially related to the importance of environment and experience in learning, the premises strongly advocating only institutional education seem credible enough.

Nobody can deny the significance of schools and colleges in creating a learning experience for students. The combination of pedagogy, infrastructure, class groups, and informally: friends, memories, canteens, playgrounds, etc. make institutional education unparalleled. In its own right, the tangibility matters.

Despite all the debates and discussions around E-learning’s validity, the fact that E-learning trends and mediums are consistently reinventing to become more accessible to students is irrefutable. E-learning systems have proliferated multiple new opportunities and varied choices in the field of education. It has brought classrooms to doorsteps of those who may not be able to access them otherwise.

In light of the booming increase in E-learning alternatives and their demand; likewise, this article discusses the top ingredients for effective E-learning sorted under four broadheads namely : Pedagogy , Course Design , Assessment and Feedback.

PEDAGOGY

1.) Engagement

In E-learning, the only way students’ attention can be vouchsafed is by making the teaching process engaging for them. In a live classroom, multiple factors like gesticulation, callouts, collective reading, group study, blackboard teaching, note-making, etc. enable the teacher to deliver lectures and hit the desired goals. Onscreen retention requires a separate kind of visual appeal and engagement. Hence, we can easily watch a 3-hour long movie on the screen but not a 45 minutes class done in the same old way. Therefore, if the online lectures are made, keeping in mind the ideal duration, visual appeal, content, and design, the teaching process can be fun.

2.) Structured and relevant

An online webinar or subject period where the teachers and  students can interact with each other have a scope of open-ended discussions. The scope of something similar changes when students opt to learn a particular subject, skill, or concept, and the lessons are pre-recorded. Among thousands of courses available for every topic, the one that is to the point stands out. In the delivery of content, teachers or tutors must keep in mind that students have access to many more sources of information on a topic than an instructional video. Hence, what students require is:-

 a) An informative and authentic learning process which enables them to  connect various chunks of information available on a topic.

b) Lessons that maintain their  relevance so as to avoid disengagement of students due to unnecessary digressions in content coverage and  delivery.

3.) Flexibility

Convention classroom learning must not be simulated online. Rigidity in lesson plans or methodologies of teaching doesn’t cater to the diverse needs of students. E-learning platforms don’t create the kind of teacher-student familiarity that classrooms do. Hence, the pedagogy must be designed as inclusively as possible, keeping in mind beforehand that while some students may understand the content much quickly and easily, some may not.  

COURSE DESIGN

1.) Simplified

If the course design is simple, it is easier to follow. Simplicity means, ease of navigation, ease of reference, ease of follow-up. If there are too many elements clustered into one, the learning experience becomes more of a struggle than a progression journey.

2.) Student Centric

The design of an online course must be enabling and not challenging. Including helpful FAQs, responsive chat or discussion boxes, clearly naming modules, not requiring too much of other apparel, availability of resources, and readings, keeping the duration as per average attention spans are some of the elements that ensure a successful student-centric approach.

Online Learning

ASSESSMENT

1.) Improvement oriented

The process of E-learning is very different from classroom learning in terms of assessment. Rightly so, the difference must exist. E-learning platforms can use technology’s strength to give students useful feedback with every test or quiz to push them toward improvement. A single teacher teaching forty students may not be able to achieve this, but a computer can. Hence, assessments in E-learning courses can be made most effective if they are well distributed, feedback oriented, and personalized enough not to make the student feel ashamed and embarrassed for not meeting common standards.

2.) Progressive

Making online assessments to give the students a feeling of progress or completion is far better than making them daunting and bulky. Level wise designing of assessments, regular check-ups, simple points, or marks distribution are ways of making assessments meant for assessing and not degrading.

Online Learning

FEEDBACK

The efficacy of any process connecting service providers and receivers sustains its effectiveness if regular feedback is taken. Similarly, in E-learning, where visual signals like students yawning away or looking at the wall clock or going into silent mode when questions are asked are not available to improve the teaching process and engagement levels, feedback mechanisms are a must. An immediate and effective feedback process for both students and tutors will improve the process.

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