Your Students Need Help Navigating Online Learning
It’s no question that online education is a much different undertaking than traditional face-to-face learning. Students have more independence and freedom with online classes and face more distractions at home like cell phones and social media.
eLearning can be isolating and challenging for even the most diligent student because most course creators developed their courses and learning materials with adults, not children, in mind.
And with new terms like asynchronous learning and the lack of mobile-friendly course content, it can be confusing for families to understand the ins and outs of online instruction.
However, with the help of a supportive teacher like you, students will gain new skills and receive a high-quality education through a learning management system,
So how exactly can you improve online learning for your students to achieve the best possible outcomes?
Let’s look at some of the best practices for online teaching and seven ways you can make eLearning effective and engaging for your students.
Best Practices For Online Teaching
Teachers are more than just subject matter experts. Chances are you’ve developed your methods, routines, and habits in the traditional classroom.
Whether your students are seeking an online degree or just trying to make it out of fourth grade, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your teaching style to make online learning work.
Here are some best practices you can implement in your online classroom to make eLearning a success with your student population.
Keep Communication Positive: Always make sure the first contact with family members is a positive one. This is especially important if you anticipate issues with the student, like chronic late work or behavior challenges.
Schedule Check-Ins: Schedule frequent check-ins with students, even if they don’t appear to be struggling.
Don’t Overcomplicate The Easy Stuff: Provide direct instruction on accessing course materials, simplifying directions, and consistently organizing your course. Direct them to the practice area and provide live modeling of course navigation.
Develop New Routines With Students: Use checklists, templates, and timers as teachable tools to help students with organization. Don’t forget to schedule work times and break times to provide students with brain breaks.
Get Creative To Meet Students’ Needs: Research assistive technology, like screen readers and live captioning to ensure you honor your student’s accommodations.
Communication and empathy are critical components in a thriving online learning environment. You’ll also want to investigate the customization features on your LMS to ensure your online course is designed with your students in mind.
As an online educator, you’ll need to work closely with your district and families to find the best eLearning platform for your students.
Your students are most likely dealing with various stressors as they learn to navigate their online courses, so this could negatively impact their learning experience.
Let’s look at seven ways you can support your students in their eLearning journey.
Seven Ways to Improve eLearning Functionality For Your Students
For many educators, online teaching was a huge adjustment. You successfully blended your traditional classroom expertise with a new LMS and way of educating to pioneer the uncharted waters of online learning.
While you rose to meet the eLearning challenges, your students will need even more support to ensure they don’t get lost in the navigation of their online courses.
Here are seven things you can implement in your online learning pedagogy to strengthen your online classroom.
1. Engage All Types Of Learners
The first thing that comes to mind when envisioning online courses is the ever-present discussion forums. While this is an effective collaboration tool, it’s not the most engaging for most students.
You already know that there are multiple types of learners in your classroom.
Social/Interpersonal: Prefer collaboration
Solitary/Intrapersonal: Prefer working independently.
Verbal: Need both written and spoken instruction.
Logical/Mathematical: Need logical explanations.
Physical/Kinesthetic: Need hands-on activities.
Auditory/Musical: Need to hear examples and solutions explained.
Visual/Spatial: Need to see visual aids to learn.
It is challenging to meet the needs of all types of learners, but a high-quality learning management system will allow for easy differentiation.
Customize assignments by giving students choices on their user dashboard. Provide instruction in various ways to suit your diverse learners’ needs, whether engaging webinars or handouts. You can also assign quizzes and track their progress to evaluate which assignments they prefer.
From there, you can differentiate the types of content delivery you choose, like live, simu-live, and on-demand, to help students find the learning resources that best fit their needs.
2. Offer Online Office Hours
Educators know that students don’t always have questions during class. Sometimes these inquiries pop up during independent learning time or even after class has concluded.
Host consistent online office hours, each using the video conferencing feature on your LMS. Allow students to pop in and out as needed or schedule meetings during this time for extra help or guidance.
Students may feel more comfortable asking questions in a private setting, encouraging new skills like self-advocacy.
3. Make Course Content Easily Accessible
Many teachers use multimedia content in their virtual classrooms to maintain engagement and offer a different way of learning the course content.
Your learning management system should offer dedicated content catalogs and media libraries to house all of your video lectures, video content, and other learning materials students will need to review or access if they are absent.
These libraries should be accessible on mobile apps from both Android and iOs mobile devices to ensure students can work on their studies from anywhere.
4. Provide Timely, Detailed Feedback
The best way for students to receive personal development is through detailed feedback on their assignments delivered by a solid full-time educator like you.
Deliver this feedback using your eLearning platform’s criteria-based reports to sort the data into categories to analyze how quickly your students build their skills or identify achievement gaps that need to be addressed.
You can deliver feedback through your LMS communication system, a video conference, or an email to the student and their family members.
By providing feedback promptly, you allow students the opportunity to focus on their areas of need and support relevant course creation.
5. Balance Leniency And Accountability
If you frequent any form of social media, you will have seen the “Give Grace” movement that asked for leniency for students and teachers as they navigated eLearning.
It’s essential to think of your students as people first and understand that online learning isn’t for everyone. When a student shows signs of struggle, reach out to get to the bottom of the issues. Maintain open and positive communication with the student and their family to ensure any problems are resolved quickly.
However, for their personal development, students need to learn accountability that is appropriate for their age.
Use your learning management system’s calendar feature to communicate due dates, class times, and other important information to students’ success.
Communicate penalties for late work, if any, and consistently follow up on those consequences.
6. Use Your Course Platforms’ Engaging Features
Student engagement, especially on the secondary level, has always been a challenge in the traditional classroom. Add the natural distractions of distance learning and engagement because it is even more crucial.
Your eLearning platform should have several student engagement tools that you can use before, during, or after a live class to captivate students.
How To Use It In The Virtual Classroom
By repackaging your existing content using new and exciting technology, you will have your students eager to learn and join in on the next lesson.
7. Maintain Open Lines Of Communication With Parents
It may sound repetitive, but an open line of communication with parents is essential for student success.
Use your learning management system to provide families with contact information and response expectations. Parents need to know when to expect a response from you and write if a quick response is required.
Create an email list for your individual courses and use templates to communicate about unit content, due dates, and important information that families need to keep track of.
Direct them to the LMS calendar function, which may integrate with their calendar for easy access.
Good communication not only prevents issues but helps families to set their students up for eLearning success.
BeaconLive’s LMS Supports Students And Teachers During Online Learning
When cultivating the best online learning experience for your students, you need a learning management system that will provide you with all the tools you need.
BeaconLive’s learning management system helps educators like you produce, deliver, and manage online courses with unique features like user tracking, automated delivery, and 24/7 live tech support.
We also offer extensive media library and course content cataloging services to ensure your students have access to all the learning resources they need to make the most of your online course.
Are you looking to provide community-building school spirit events for your distance learning students? BeaconLive can help you plan and host your live virtual event with up to 40,000 participants to keep students engaged and meet their socioemotional needs.
Contact BeaconLive today for more information on how we can take your eLearning to the next level.