How To Show Your Online Students How To Learn Before You Start Teaching
People obtain most of their knowledge at schools. Nevertheless, it seems like the conventional educational system is failing in one important aspect: It doesn’t teach students how to learn. Teachers enter the classroom, they give lectures, and they expect the students to study without encountering any obstacles. As an online teacher, you have an opportunity to make a difference. Before you start teaching your courses, it’s important to show your online students how to handle the curriculum as effectively as possible. When you make that additional effort, the results from the overall program will be much greater. In the continuation, you’ll find tips that help you achieve that goal.
1. Communicate with them.
Online courses have many advantages over the traditional classroom environment, but you have to find a way to make up for the lack of personal interaction. If the platform you’re using features a direct communication system, you should definitely use it. If not, you can schedule a Skype conference and tell the students you expect their questions before the course begins. You can also offer your email and tell them to feel free to ask anything on their mind. When online students know what they are getting into, the entire course becomes easier to handle.
2. Encourage self-presentation.
PowerPoint may be a conventional tool, but it’s really effective even in the online learning environment. Before the online course starts, you can encourage all students to present themselves through short slides. You will feature those slides on a special blog, so everyone will get the feeling that they are part of a real learning environment. The students will be able to communicate and help each other solve the problems they encounter.
3. Motivate them through short-term goals.
When you think of gradual, attainable goals your students can work towards, the entire process of learning will be more comprehensive. There are few things you can do in order to make them feel like they are achieving short-term goals with every effort they make:
- Identify the objectives of your online course up front. Tell them what they will learn and how that knowledge will add new qualifications to their set of skills.
- Explain how each new chapter is relevant to the main objective of the course.
- Introduce brief quizzes after each chapter, but make them fun and non-pressuring.
4. Offer specific learning tips, suitable for the course you teach.
Each online course is different. If, for example, you’re teaching a course on medieval literature, you probably want your students to explore the social environment of that particular era, so they will understand the context of the pieces they analyze throughout the course. Teach them how to make that research. If, on the other hand, you’re teaching an online math course, you want your students to develop logical thinking skills and a habit to practice. Think of specific exercises that will help the learners to take the right approach towards the course.
5. Teach your students how to organize their time.
Online courses are quite flexible. The learners can view videos, read materials, and write the assignments in their own time. That flexibility is one of the greatest appeals of the online learning industry, but it’s also a risk. If the learners don’t know how to organize their time, they can easily get out of track and end up dropping out. Before you start teaching, you need to give some time-organizing tips to your students. Explain that although this is a flexible online course, they still need to make a commitment.
6. Teach them about self-evaluation
You don’t have to scare the students with strict online tests that define the final achievement. Instead of doing that, you should help them understand that assessment is a good thing. In fact, they should evaluate their own knowledge and skills progressively throughout the online course. They can do that by creating their own quizzes and writing blog posts on relevant topics. Encourage your students to maintain their own blogs and get into a discussion with the other participants of the course.
7. Suggest tools that make the learning process more effective.
There are several online tools and platforms that can help students become better at learning. Thanks to digital tools, they can manage their time more effectively, take visual notes, make online presentations, and craft mind maps that make the learning process much easier. There are tons of tools your online students can experiment with, but here are few you can suggest:
An online diary, which your students can use to write their impressions on the course and track their progress.
A note-taking tool that’s really easy to use.
Free tool for creating online mind maps.
- StayFocusd and LeechBlock.
Browser extensions that block distractions.
Are you ready to start making real changes in the way your online students learn? The tips listed above will get you on the right track.