Today, with the shift in our educational system, both parents and teachers face the challenge of sudden transition from traditional classes to online classes. Due to its suddenness and very little prep time, both teachers and parents are still figuring out how to make online learning more effective.
So, how to make online learning efficient for students? Here are a few tips that could help.
Bring discipline back:
To make online learning more fruitful is to bring the school-going discipline back on track. Beginning with selecting a well-lit space, arrange a table/desk that is minimalistic with what is required- learning device, required stationery, and necessary books. Ensure all the browsers are shut while learning and parental control installed on the device to monitor online behavior during class. Now that everything is set, waking up early, getting ready and attending class on time needs to be ensured.
This requires the teacher and parent to work together. The teacher can restrict access in the online classroom chats, video, or audio settings. However, parents should be able to keep a track of online distractions such as closing all browsers not relevant to learning, keeping the TV turned off etc.
Accommodate students' learning needs:
Research has shown that online learning might not affect the top graders as much as students who struggle in in-person classes. Therefore, it is important to have a plan that can accommodate the differences by teachers including these ideas in classroom sessions:
• Making summary/revision videos that can be accessed a number of times.
• Simple after class questionnaires to highlight learnings that could identify gaps.
• Online engagement - encouraging students to ask doubts.
• Powerpoint Slides (used in class) can be a take away for students.
Focus on ‘Active’ Learning:
Even the most dynamic teachers cannot get away relying on long drawn lectures for an hour online. To engage students, the faculty must mix spurts of discussions, video & audio clips, and hands-on exercises with text. This blend of teaching and learning tools is very new to most teachers who haven’t practiced active learning during their face-to-face classroom sessions.
‘Chunk’ the lessons:
Long lectures and sessions are most ineffective online. To make learning most effective and efficient, keeping students engaged takes precedence. Therefore, no pages of text or prolonged one-hour non stop reading. Experts recommend a 10-minute‘ chunk” of informative content with varying formats that would work wonders for students. Younger students benefit from breaking down the text into short paragraphs and colored content to be distributed after class that highlights important points. This helps students retain information far more than lengthy notes or classes.
No matter where the teaching is, it is of utmost importance for the faculty to be mentally present with the students. Now, that doesn’t mean just responding to the questions asked by the students. They should have a “social presence” in their online classrooms by sharing some photos or mentions of some interesting activities they did over the weekend or recommend some interesting reads. Have a 10-minute “catchup” time to come together and share stories or ideas that encourage better engagement in students.
Online classes require video conferencing softwares, which vary for different schools. Teachers must corroborate with parents with required account details, downloading of required apps (eg. Google Docs, Powerpoint, Evernote), and access information much in advance.
Robust internet connection:
Some may agree to download videos and notes to mitigate wifi issues and for students who are facile with technology. However, engagement and interaction with students online have proven to be far beneficial. Schools and homes should leverage this by having a robust and efficient internet connection to avoid slacking and distraction in students.
To conclude, the most effective learning happens when a bunch of students interact and solve interesting problems, discuss topics, or share ideas. With backbenchers pushed in front of the screen and elimination of playing favourites, this might be greatly beneficial in having a fair and unbiased system. In the same breath, using assessments or quizzes after each session would be the best way to identify gaps/create focus groups who need extra help with performance.
Make sure you follow these tips and share this resource with fellow parents and teachers.