Best Online Learning Practices

Best Online Learning Practices!

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by Liubomyr Sirskyi
Copywriter at Kwiga

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, online learning has emerged as a pivotal mode of delivering knowledge, transcending geographical barriers, and offering flexible learning schedules. However, the effectiveness of this educational approach hinges on applying online learning best practices. This article digs deeper into the core strategies and methodologies that educators and students can adopt to maximize the benefits of remote education, ensuring a productive, engaging, and enriching learning experience.

Top Tips for Teaching Remotely

If you need more clarification about teaching remotely, we have compiled a list of eight practical tips and ideas to help you become a great online teacher. These suggestions cover a range of the best practices for online teaching that can help you create an engaging and successful learning environment for your students.

Instructor Presence

A vital factor in the success of eLearning courses is the instructor's ability to create a sense of presence. This can be accomplished by using these best practices in online teaching:

  • Regular Communication. Posting weekly announcements to update students on course progress and upcoming deadlines. This approach keeps students informed and engaged.
  • Video Appearances. Utilizing video for lectures, feedback, and announcements can humanize the online experience. Seeing and hearing their instructor helps students feel more connected.
  • Active Participation. Joining discussions and forums as an observer and an active participant. Sharing insights, asking questions, and responding to student posts show that the instructor is attentive and engaged.
  • Personal Touch. Sharing personal anecdotes related to the course material or personal experiences from the field can make the learning experience more relatable and engaging.

Real World Applications

Connecting what students learn in the classroom with the real world is crucial to improving their motivation. When teachers demonstrate how to apply the concepts and skills in real-life scenarios, it helps students understand the practical application of their learning. This approach is one of the best practices in online teaching, making learning more relevant and engaging for students. Therefore, they can see the value of the coursework in their daily lives.

For example, a math teacher might use real-world problems like calculating the cost of groceries or planning a budget to help students understand how math applies to their daily lives. Similarly, a science teacher might use real-life examples like the impact of climate change to help students see the relevance of environmental studies.

Teach for Online Students

Optimizing online courses for online learners involves the best practices for online teaching:

  • Orientation. At the beginning of the course, provide a detailed tour of the online learning platform and resources. This approach helps students navigate the course effectively.
  • Chunking Content. Breaking down content into smaller, digestible sections, caters to varied learning paces and helps maintain student concentration.
  • Structured Pattern. Establishing a consistent weekly schedule for discussions, assignments, and quizzes. Predictability helps students manage their time better.
  • Communication Guidelines. Establish clear expectations for participation, including how often students should log in and participate in discussions, and outline netiquette rules for interactions.

Chunking Content

Clear Expectations

Providing clarity from the start enhances student understanding and engagement. Following this aspect, here are the best practices for online learning.

Detailed Syllabus

A detailed syllabus is crucial for setting the stage for a successful learning experience. It should include an overview of the course content, clearly defined learning objectives, and how each part of the course contributes to these objectives. The syllabus should also outline the grading policy in detail, explaining how each assignment and exam contributes to the final grade. Additionally, it's beneficial to include information on required materials, including textbooks and online resources, and any prerequisite knowledge or courses. Providing this information upfront helps students understand what is expected of them and how they can achieve success in the course.

Transparent Scheduling

Transparent scheduling is one of the best practices for online learning, as it involves more than just listing due dates. It means providing a comprehensive calendar, including assignment deadlines, scheduled exams, project milestones, and planned class activities. This calendar should be made available at the beginning of the course, allowing students to plan their study schedules and manage their time effectively. Including reminders before key dates and adjusting the schedule as needed, with clear communication about any changes, can help students stay on track. Transparency in scheduling demonstrates respect for students' time and commitments outside of class, contributing to a supportive learning environment.

Assignment Instructions

Clear and detailed assignment instructions are vital for student success. These instructions should include the purpose of the assignment, detailed steps to complete it, and the criteria that will be used for evaluation. Additionally, specifying the format and submission guidelines helps prevent confusion. For more complex assignments, distance learning best practices like providing examples or templates can guide students in understanding expectations more clearly. It's also helpful to include an FAQ section for assignments, address common questions or concerns, and be open to clarifying any ambiguities students may encounter. This level of detail ensures that all learners, regardless of their background or prior skills, have the information they need to complete assignments effectively.

Learning Objectives

Ensure alignment of content with learning objectives using these online learning best practices:

  • Focused Content. It is essential for each course material to align with the learning objectives. Including irrelevant or unnecessary content can lead to confusion and distract students from the main concepts. Moreover, it can also create an overwhelming learning experience for them.
  • Assessment Alignment. It's crucial to create assessments that accurately measure the intended learning objectives. This approach involves crafting evaluation criteria directly relevant to these objectives so that students can be fairly and effectively evaluated based on their understanding and mastery of the material. When you create online courses in this way, educators can ensure that students are challenged meaningfully and receive accurate feedback on their progress.
  • Optional Extras. One way to enhance student's learning experience is by providing supplementary resources that are not mandatory but can be used for a more in-depth exploration of the subject matter. By offering such optional resources, students keen on learning more about the topic can do so at their own pace. At the same time, those who prefer to stick to the basics can still achieve their learning objectives without feeling overwhelmed.

Assessment Alignment

Prompt Feedback

Providing timely and constructive feedback is crucial for students' development. Feedback can be given using the best practices for online learning: reinforcement and constructive criticism. Reinforcement involves highlighting the positive aspects of the student's work to encourage them to continue using those skills or understandings. On the other hand, constructive criticism involves offering specific, actionable advice for improvement.

In addition to these, it is essential to provide feedback promptly. This approach means ensuring that feedback is given while the material is still fresh in the student's mind. Timely feedback allows students to apply corrections or improvements in subsequent work, which helps them to develop and progress academically.

Engage Students

You can do this in different ways. Here are the best practices for online teaching that will benefit you the most:

  • Interactive Activities. Incorporating collaborative tasks into the curriculum effectively fosters a sense of community and promotes interactive learning. Group projects, peer reviews, and similar activities encourage students to engage in meaningful discussions, share thoughts, and work together to reach a common goal. These distance learning best practices are beneficial both for students and teachers.
  • Discussion Forums. One effective way to promote an active and stimulating online discussion among students is to design prompts that prompt critical thinking and encourage students to interact with each other's posts. By crafting thought-provoking questions that require careful consideration and analysis, students are more likely to engage in a lively and meaningful conversation. Additionally, by fostering an environment where students are encouraged to respond to each other's contributions, they will feel more invested and connected to the discussion, leading to a more dynamic and engaging learning experience.
  • Feedback Loop. One of the online learning best practices for enhancing education quality is urging students to share their feedback on the course. Educators can use this feedback to adjust their teaching strategies and improve the content of the course to better cater to the student's needs. By taking into account the opinions and suggestions of the students, teachers can create a more engaging and practical learning experience for everyone involved.

Feedback Loop

Make Sure the Content is Convenient to Use Via the Mobile Phone

As you craft your online course, it's crucial to incorporate mobile accessibility. Recent trends highlight an increasing propensity for students to engage with course materials through their smartphones or tablets. This mobile access enables learning flexibility, catering to online learners' desire for educational opportunities that fit their mobile lifestyles. It transforms potential downtime, like a lengthy commute or a lunch break at work, into productive learning sessions, potentially reducing course dropout rates.

Here are some tips for teaching remotely via the mobile phone. Ensure your course content, especially videos, is compatible across mobile platforms like Android and iOS. This compatibility guarantees that videos are not only accessible but also offer a seamless viewing experience on smaller screens. Pay attention to the clarity and legibility of any on-screen text and consider adopting a vertical video format to optimize content for mobile viewing. This approach maximizes the convenience of mobile learning, allowing students to engage with lectures and resources on the go easily.

Learn More About Your Learning Platform to Apply The Best Practices for Online Teaching

There's a wealth of excellent educational platforms available today, with Kwiga standing out for its comprehensive tutorial videos designed to familiarize new users with its myriad tools and features. Embracing these resources is a smart move to enhance your online course delivery.

However, beyond the official platform tutorials, connecting with fellow educators who utilize these tools can uncover innovative teaching strategies and uses for the platform. Engaging with colleagues within your institution or delving into online communities dedicated to online learning best practices can be incredibly enriching.

As you delve deeper into your learning management system's capabilities, don't overlook the analytics functions. These features offer insights into student behaviors, such as course visitation rates, engagement levels with the material, and time spent on specific module sections. Leveraging this data enables you to identify patterns in student interaction, providing a solid foundation for course optimization and improvement.

The Final Word About Distance Learning Best Practices

Adopting online learning best practices and teaching significantly influences the efficacy of online learning. By embracing these strategies, educators can create online courses that will be engaging and effective. At the same time, students can optimize their learning experience, ensuring educational success and personal growth in a digital learning environment. As online education evolves, so will distance learning best practices that define excellence in remote teaching and learning.