The present COVID-19 scenario has turned the world upside down. However, it has managed to challenge every existing system and pushed the world to revamp and come with innovative solutions that would keep everyday life going. In this situation, digital platforms have come to the rescue and have proven to be the best resort for various streams of life including education. Be it making work from home easier and efficient or managing other essential routine tasks online, digital space has aided every possible field. Education is not bereft of this platform either.
Online learning platforms pertaining to various subjects have gained maximum attention during these recent times including various digital education platforms.
As of March 2020, around 185 countries including India have now resumed schools by conducting classes online. Surprisingly, this newly unprecedented step has proven to be really helpful to the extent that most countries including France are considering revamping their education system and switching to virtual classroom platform post lockdown too.
Along with conventional education, today there are various online learning platforms that offer online learning for kids covering foreign languages, soft skill development, vocational courses, etc.
However, as much as these digital platforms have managed to successfully provide an alternative option to learning, there are various challenges and setbacks that they come with.Overcoming these are essential in order to conduct a successfully engaging online session with students.
In this blog, we shall discuss a few essential and vital factors that may help online learning platforms and educators to design sessions that are engaging and will ensure maximum attention from students.
Our brain loves visuals. So being visible to students on the screen is the most basic but important thing to keep in mind. Now that learning has been moved to the digital space, it is essential for the students to feel comfortable and feel that you are still there. This can be done in various ways. First of all, keep your cameras turned on and ask all the students to do so too. This allows for more participation and also better engagement. Also, the teachers can be more participative by sending direct messages on class, discussing homework, and giving individual feedback to students.
Motivate students to engage with each other in a learning context during classes. Encourage more discussions, debates, and presentations of various topics within the class and ensure maximum participation for this. This will create an environment of group learning within students on a virtual classroom platform.
Since they have been used to this in their classrooms, this will render them with a feeling of familiarity and normalcy. You as a teacher also must show active participation in these discussions. This step can overall ensure a good engagement and productive learning session.
Create courses that your students will be able to complete in time and at their own pace. Considering that the whole online learning for kids is still relatively new and hence needs a lot of adaptation in terms of methods of teaching, learning, conduction of classes as well as time management. Due to the lack of physical presence of the teacher, students may get distracted, and hence gaining their maximum attention can be a task.
Plus, explaining a concept to kids on a virtual classroom platform may be a bit more challenging than teaching in a classroom. Moreover, the attention span of kids is really short, and especially in this scenario can go for a toss. Hence, all these factors need to be considered while allocating time for any syllabus or task.
Encourage students to talk more about what is happening in the world. Ask kids how much they know about COVID-19 situations and if they would like to share it with the class. More often than not kids grasp certain information that they may have heard from their parents or people around them.
Allow them to share this in the class and correct them if they have any misinformation. This will make them feel to have contributed well. This will also allow the teacher to gain the attention of kids and hence secure active participation in further discussions.
Online learning for kids can get a bit boring as it may get difficult for them to sit in front of a screen for more than an hour. Also, a classroom provides a controlled environment for the teacher to handle and deal with kids. Whereas, on online learning platforms it may get a bit challenging for teachers to manage the kids.
Hence, keeping a fun section or activity at the end of the session can help children to sit through the lecture. This may act as a reward for them and something they will be willingly looking forward to.
Stronger Call to Actions (CTA) plays a vital role in advertising to generate and attract leads and enrolments. The use of relatable and stronger calls to action is essential. Some of the examples could be Enroll Now, Register Now, Book a Free Class, Try a Free Session, Clear your Basics, Sign up for a Free Class, Get a free Material, Join a Group Discussion, etc.
Implications of the call to action could be tricky in some places. You can always do an A/B testing to determine what works for you well and get the desired results.
In the present digital world, influencers hold a very powerful role in terms of branding and advertising. When a certain product is validated by an influencer or a famous personality, it gains a certain level of legitimacy and value in the eyes of people.
Hence using this strategy, one can attract the learners & students across the globe by having your online learning platforms publicized by HODs, Keynote Speaker, Subject Matter Experts, etc. This can be a great asset to come closer to achieving your determined result.
Top 5 practices in online teaching:
-Keep the sessions interactive, maintain a strong presence and channel your expertise.
-Create a detailed syllabus and then break it down into pieces to cover during several sessions.
-Keep emphasizing on the importance of active participation and clear communication.
-Have a stern approach when it comes to schedules and due dates.
-Provide clarity on assignments, followed by prompt feedback.
Must-have key qualities of an excellent online teacher:
-Expertise in teaching
-Passionate about the subject
-Is good with technology and time management
-Understands the importance of online education
-Promotes interactive learning
Here’s what you can do to keep your students attentive in class:
-The videos have to be on (including yours).
-Keep the sessions short, engaging and exciting.
-Make sure that everyone participates during each session.
-Present relevant study material on the screen to help students better understand the topics.
-Record the videos and make them available for your students.
Here’s how you can conduct effective online classes:
-While teaching online, keep your video on and demand your students to do the same.
-Keep the teaching sessions or recorded videos short.
-Use relevant study material and resources available online.
-Be specific when you give instructions or make announcements.
-Conduct interactive activities.
-Set reasonable, but strict, deadline for the assignments.
-Use auto-checking to measure attendance.
-Make small student groups through breakout rooms for group discussions.
With technological advancements like audio-visual aids, artificial intelligence automation, online education has become less of a challenge over the years. More and more top universities are now leaning towards the concept of online learning as it is more effective, efficient and affordable. It also promotes flexibility in terms of time and geography – students from one part of the world can enroll for their dream course (which might not be necessarily available in their region) in another corner of the world. They can even juggle multiple commitments like work + education easily.