The world of education has moved online, and there is plenty of evidence that this trend is here to stay.
While many online educators are enjoying the benefits of being able to instruct students from anywhere in the world from the comfort of their home office, some unique challenges need to be overcome.
Here are our top tools and strategies for overcoming the challenges of teaching and training from a distance.
Building Community in the Classroom
Chances are, most of your students have something big in common. No, we aren’t talking about sharing a birthday or pinning the same poster on the wall in the background of their “learn-from-home” setup.
Chances are, they are lonely. The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on the mental health of students, who would otherwise be in the classroom collaborating and building relationships with each other.
This is an opportunity for anyone with an online course to build a communal feel, which can result in better course satisfaction and concept retention among their students.
Promote Smaller Group Work
DaDesktop developed an unlimited breakout room feature for a reason. Smaller group problem solving and discussion sessions allow students to speak up when they normally wouldn’t in a larger class setting. Include these sessions every lesson, and provide resources so students can meet up for out-of-class study groups if they wish.
Offer Office Hours
Part of the responsibility of decreasing student isolation means giving them a chance to communicate with the instructor directly. Make sure to provide flexible office hours (remember, they could be tuning in from many different time zones) for your students, and don’t be afraid to reach out to students who appear disengaged.
Can You Hear Me? Hello?
Countless valuable hours of instruction can be lost to unmuted microphones broadcasting the sound of housepets, blaring television sets, and a long list of other distracting background noises. Don’t let this happen in your online course.
Even though most video conferencing tools have committed to being easy for anyone to use, there will still be lapses in judgement. To ensure that your class doesn’t fall victim to this, it’s best to clearly establish some rules in your course materials. Here are our virtual communication best practices:
Control the Room
As the person running the online course, you should exercise your ability to keep everyone on track. Tools like DaDesktop allow administrators to mute all students. Take advantage of this feature to cut down on distracting background noise.
You will still need to establish a system to ensure that students can comfortably speak up and ask questions (otherwise you may never get engagement from most of your class). Establish open question periods periodically throughout your lessons, and encourage students to use the chat feature on your virtual teaching platform to get your attention.
Also, be sure to account for the audio delay that occurs after you speak. Wait for a few seconds after you finish speaking to give your students a chance to speak up.
Finally, remember to set up your virtual teaching arrangement so that you can look your students in the eye. Eye-contact is extremely important for keeping your students engaged, so practice looking directly into your camera, instead of the screen where your students appear.
Motivating Your Students
There’s something about face to face teaching that is difficult to replicate in the online learning environment. Students gain energy from powerful group discussions or learning with team-based games. Without this energy, your students may feel less motivated.
At the end of the day, we are social creatures. And we can’t get the same kind of energy from social interactions over Zoom as we do in person (which is why “Zoom fatigue” is sweeping across the globe).
Here’s how to keep your students motivated while learning online.
Rewards and Praise
Motivation can be difficult for small online course makers and online corporate trainers. When students are taking part in the course for a certification instead of receiving grading throughout, it can be difficult to keep their engagement and motivation high.
We recommend developing reward systems like positive feedback messages or virtual prizes for students who perform well on deliverables throughout the course. In addition, don’t just reward those who perform well on memory or engagement-based tasks. Also, recognize those who communicate their ideas effectively and show improvement over time.
Gamification can be effective for certain learning styles, especially those who are motivated by external factors more than internal ones. In addition, flashcards and quiz-based games can improve recall, so it’s more than just about having fun – it can boost your class’s performance. Tools like Kahoot and Quizlet are inexpensive and easy to use for many online learning purposes.
Finding Online Teaching Success
Still wondering how to overcome the trials and tribulations of teaching and inspiring others online? Keep an eye on our blog for more content about the world of education.
Are you using a video conferencing tool or remote learning platform that just isn’t getting the job done? We would love to share how DaDesktop can serve your online teaching needs. Get in touch with a member of our team to learn about our industry-leading features:
- Built-in video, audio, group texting, notifications, screen sharing, breakout rooms and more!
- The ULTIMATE in long distance remote classroom instruction!
- NO TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE NEEDED!
- Record your classroom for review or to share later!
- Add as many instructors as you want for your live teaching sessions!
- FREE Unlimited course storage. Set it and forget it!
- Set up in minutes, not hours or days.
- ABSOLUTELY FREE set up. Pay ONLY when you use our system for live teaching/training!
- One machine, unlimited users and students!
- Create up to 10 break out rooms for individual group learning or tutoring!
- Upload and control any curriculum with the click of a button!
- Connect with your entire classroom whether remote or in person, no limits!
- Reach students across the globe to any learning base on any type of computer!
- Connect with seamless precision, no down time and no lag time!
- Lecture and ask/answer questions in real time via chat or video!
- Pricing that beats the competition!
- Also great for “blended” teaching environments. Teaching both in person and online simultaneously!