With every pandemic, there is always an emerging trend. While remote learning existed even before the current pandemic, Covid-19 certainly accelerated its adoption. With the increased call for lockdowns and social distancing, schools had to turn to technology to ensure learning continues. But because the crisis came without warning, a quick shift to remote learning was necessary but left teachers, parents, and students alike fumbling with challenges inherent in distant learning.
Unlike the brick and mortar learning, remote learning presents challenges like students disengagement due to distractions, which hampers the learning experience. That said, it’s vital to devise strategies to ensure that students’ engagement is increased during online schooling. After all, even when the virus will be long gone, remote learning will remain as a core offering for education institutions.
Know the remote learning tools
Given that technology is the backbone of remote learning, take your time to know the ins and outs of the platforms used in online learning. It’s by your in-depth knowledge about these platforms that will ensure your students harness the optimal e-learning benefits. For instance, for schools using Google Classroom, dedicate time to learn all its features to exploit its potential fully.
Maintain personal connections
Feeling isolated and disconnected is one of the major challenges of online learning. To avert this challenge, strengthen your connection with your students. One way of doing that is by sending personalized videos to your students. For instance, you can send videos congratulating your students for efforts put in their assignment.
Additionally, try to engage your students beyond class. Get to know how they are doing and the challenges they could be facing.
Explain complex topics in detail
It’s not unusual for students to disconnect when being introduced to new, complex concepts. This is even more apparent in online sessions. You can arrest your students’ disengagement when there is unnatural silence during your session.
To ensure that your content is easily digestible, try to break complex concepts into simple sessions. The reality also is that some topics require you to spend more time on them. You could achieve this by recording a follow-up video to help students deepen their understanding of topics they are struggling to grasp.
Meet often but make the sessions shorter
Keeping your students attentive in the classroom for a period longer than one hour is a tall order, especially for elementary learners. It’s even more daunting keeping them engaged on a screen. In light of this, break your class into sessions of 20 to 30 minutes. Marry live lectures with independent learning activities.
Encourage students to connect
Even with social distancing, students thrive when they interact with their classmates. This shouldn’t change at any point. While students can interact through social media, be deliberate about it by creating opportunities to interact even as they learn. And the good thing is that apps like Zoom allow creating breakout sessions where students can collaborate on assignments. You could drop in each group to check progress, just like you would in a brick and mortar classroom.
Use formative assessments
Unlike a traditional classroom setup where you can observe the students’ body language to decipher their understanding, online learning falls short of this aspect. To avert this shortfall, you could ask students to record a video of them explaining a concept you taught in class.
Additionally, platforms like Google Classroom have a feature that allows you to ask your students either a multiple-choice or a short answer question. From their response, you can establish how they are processing and retaining content.
To sum it all
Given that remote learning is new to most teachers, students, and parents, creating a feedback system to improve the system is vital. Ask your students to give feedback on the session’s length, quality of the videos, the learning app’s efficacy, and the assignments’ quality. Use this information to adjust the learning system to improve the overall learning experience.