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Four useful ideas to make elearning more effective

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29th Jun 2015
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Want to be a successful elearning teacher? Read on to find out some useful tips from Kamy Anderson to make the most out of your teaching experience.

When planning to become an elearning teacher, make sure to design every course based on two main ideas: first, the course description, and second, the teaching methods of the course.

When designing the course description, the most important thing to consider is how beneficial the course would be to a student. Once a student steps out of a virtual classroom into practical life, the course must prove to be extremely useful and rewarding, and worthy of the effort invested by the student. In addition to being knowledgeable, the course must be highly interactive and engaging for the students, as well as the teachers, to maximise their satisfaction levels. A primary challenge faced by most teachers conducting sessions over a virtual platform is how to explain and elucidate complicated or lengthy concepts to a student from behind the screen.

Here are a few tips to help you make your lessons more efficient and interesting:

Make your lessons lively and interactive

Modern teaching encourages the use of art and entertainment with academic content. These should be used purposefully to draw the student’s attention towards the learning objective. Employ diagrams, pictures, clip-art, photos, cartoons, mnemonics, jokes, and even music in a pertinent manner to clarify the concepts and make them easy to retain.

A virtual classroom may seem very similar to social media sites like Facebook and Skype, where all the students interact in virtual reality without being physically present. Set up artificial conversations as icebreakers to get the students involved. Let students engage in healthy and relevant discussions, and ask any remaining students to observe them. Case studies, critical thinking and problem-solving questions can be best addressed using this technique.

Let students devise how some ideas must be taught

Encourage the students to be creative and devise their own ways of interactive teaching. As mentioned before, let art aid the learning process. This would induce mental activity which would in turn help them retain the concepts. Let students reproduce what they learned in their own words, and make use of collaborative learning and teamwork as much as you can.

Use real life examples

Make use of real-life examples that portray the urgencies, pressures, and time constraints of practical life. Students can thus learn decision-making, information processing, and choosing between options in real life scenarios. A step ahead would be to get students to demonstrate their learning outcomes in real-life environments or simulations that give them a fair idea of their course’s practical applications.

Simplify and clarify the details

Describing certain ideas or processes can be extremely complex and intimidating at the first glance. Such intricate concepts need to be simplified, divided and subdivided into various branches and steps. They must be made straightforward and streamlined. It may appear challenging, but with a little effort, students can absorb the concepts easily.

Deal with the content, one piece at a time. Break it into parts, recognise a pattern, and let your students follow it in a chronological order. For example, in maths, even the most difficult equations have definite step-by-step procedures to reach the solution. The procedure can be broken down into: recognising what kind of equation it is, say linear or quadratic; deciding on the formulae that apply; applying the formula using the correct variables, and finally arriving at a solution. The students should know how to tackle each step separately and which steps to combine if necessary.

Do not try to complete an entire module in one go. Online learning, just like teaching, is a step-by-step process, which should be dealt with gradually. Some parts of the module may require a lot more time than planned, while others may require a single session; keeping the content simple, clear and concise helps keep the process productive.

Kamy Anderson is an elearning advocate who has a passion for writing on innovative and emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He has years of experience working with learning management system and eLearning authoring tools.

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