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10 principles of successful online learning

How to create meaningful online learning?

Teaching in a traditional classroom and teaching online differ significantly.

Approximate reading time: 8m 2s

If the trainer does not have experience in the field of online training, the technologies and learning approaches used in the second case may hinder the educational process. This will lead to incomplete learning and student dissatisfaction.

To make sure that you don't find yourself in a similar situation, today we will present 10 principles that you can follow when working on your online training.

Principle 1: Teach.

Many people still think that online training is self-paced. Sure, there are those, but for courses where a teacher is present, their role is the lead. Furthermore, the learners themselves rely on the tutor to lead the training, following a pre-determined schedule and syllabus.

It can be reasonably argued that to prepare for participation in online learning, the instructor must spend much more time and effort on its preparation in advance and subsequent delivery, compared to a course in a traditional classroom.

During online training, the instructor focuses on interacting with the students instead of thinking about the delivery and performance of tomorrow's lesson. Many tutors who can compare the two types of training claim that with online training, their work is much more efficient and they can pay enough attention to all the learners.

Principle 2: Use proactive strategies to manage the learning process.

By managing the learning process, we mean all activities related to teaching and learning material. The extent to which the course will be managed depends largely on the age and experience of both the teacher and the learners.

Initially, the lecturer will need to put more effort into course management as the move from a traditional classroom to a virtual one represents a significant change in the understanding of the roles and responsibilities of both the lecturer and the learners.

The degree of course management will become more effective over time. The instructor will learn how to meet the expectations of the students as well as determine their performance.

The tutor can support the design of learning by using a proactive course management strategy such as:

- monitoring the assignments being delivered,
- reminding students that the homework deadline is approaching,
- editing the course when and where necessary.

The ultimate goal is for learners to be able to take responsibility for managing their own learning, and for the instructor to be able to focus on creating truly engaging learning.

Principle 3: Create and use an educational model.

Although online training is flexible in terms of time and location, creating and maintaining a path for the learning process to follow can be difficult for both the trainer and the learners.

There is a need to build a model for the course to run on. This will allow learners to make a plan for themselves to learn. This will also help the tutor to keep the individual activities within the pre-determined time slots and at the pre-determined pace and workload.

Principle 4: Plan the unplanned.

People who learn online look to their tutors as their primary source of information. If a tutor is going to be away for a few days, he or she should inform his or her students a week in advance. In an emergency, this should happen as early as possible. And if the tutor knows that he will have to be absent yet creates the training, he should add his absence to his programme and warn prospective trainees at the outset.

In addition, the trainer should tell trainees when he will provide them with the necessary information and when he will return so that all participants can accommodate their other commitments.

Principle 5: Provide timely feedback.

Timely feedback is very important for every learner. The trainer is expected to give feedback within one working day. If he cannot respond fully within one working day, then within that working day he should tell the trainee when he will get the feedback in question.

For convenience, the tutor may announce a day and time for consultation, and if he receives many questions on a topic, he may need to provide further clarification on the material.

Principle 6: Provide useful feedback to learners.

We have already mentioned feedback. To be useful to learners, it should be written in language that is clear to them. To make your job easier, you can use two approaches:

- make a FAQ section to address potential problems;
- prepare a personal database containing ready-made feedback that you can modify if it does not give good results.

Feedback can be provided in a variety of ways - as instructions in a tutorial, as chat messages, emails, etc. It needs to be well thought out as the two parties do not see each other in person and cannot benefit from non-verbal means of communication.

Principle 7: Support the educational progress of your learners.

Participants in online training rely on the instructor to grade their work within a specified time frame. This way, they can track their progress and, if they are not doing well, find out where they are struggling and what they need to work on further. So once your students hand in their homework to you, make sure you give them a reasonable time limit to respond.

Principle 8: Don't underestimate security.

It is highly recommended that all course-related communication takes place in a safe and secure environment. Ideally this will be a content management system (distance learning platform). Among its advantages we can mention the following:

- Storing course-related information in one place.
- Creating an archive of assignments and related correspondence.
- Management by the respective institution.

Principle 9: Create quality training.

To be most effective, online training must ensure the quality of the learning materials and the technology used (distance learning platform). For this reason, educators must monitor and address the various dimensions of the course that can affect its integrity, including:

- Inaccurate content;
- editing errors;
- confusing information or instructions;
- broken links;
- other instructional design issues.

If trainees are not satisfied with the standard of the training, there is a good chance they will not continue.

As a method of addressing course quality and integration, we suggest you consider each of the key components of online training - accuracy of content, design and overall presentation of the software used. This will make the task of quality assurance easier to manage, and more realistic.

Principle 10: Familiarize yourself with the distance learning platform that will be used during the course.

In order to be able to work fully, the trainer needs to understand in depth the software used during the training. He must know its capabilities also from the perspective of a course participant and if not require design changes to give logical and correct suggestions.

Like all other aspects of online training, the technological infrastructure plays an important role in delivering a good learning experience for both the learners and the trainer.

The instructor must have a good enough system configuration to meet the needs of the distance learning platform used for the training.

Remember that everything should be tested before the course starts - this will avoid problems during the training that could lead to dissatisfaction from the students. This will also help to increase the quality of the training.

Students online training

Virtual lessons, online classrooms and online learning are the new normal for millions of learners around the world as educational institutions take their learning platforms online.

Although the online space offers learners numerous advantages, such as new learning tools, flexibility of learning and new opportunities for collaborative learning, the transition can be challenging for both teachers and students.

On the one hand, educators need to go the extra mile and find new ways to effectively engage learners. On the other hand, students must make extra efforts to stay engaged, especially due to distractions and interruptions at home.

Providing engaging online learning is vital to student success because when students are actively engaged in the learning process, they learn better, understand the content more deeply, and are able to retain the material for longer.

But this is easier said than done.

Teachers and educators are finding that it is not easy to engage learners in an online classroom using the same engagement techniques that are used in a traditional classroom. With online learning, teachers have to deal with newer and often more challenging issues, from screen fatigue and Internet interruptions to students who are simply bored and isolated.

Here we'll look at a few more tips to help you create engaging and successful online learning for your students:

1. Communicate your class requirements in advance

Teachers often teach in an online environment the way they have taught in an in-person environment. This means they use similar teaching strategies. For most students, however, the online classroom is a new experience. Therefore, it is important for instructors to set class expectations from the beginning. This may include guidelines for online behavior, camera and microphone etiquette, asking questions.

TIPS: At the beginning of the term, or even each month, the teacher can present the class schedule and syllabus, assignment schedule, and inform students of the online tools that will be used. This is a great way to get students excited and engaged from the start as it helps to remove ambiguity.

2. Encourage the use of different digital tools for learning

In a traditional face-to-face classroom, students rely on the teacher as their sole source of information. But that changes in the online classroom. So instead of just sharing the learning material, in the online classroom teachers should encourage students to explore and use different tools for better learning and engagement. Online learning provides students with multiple learning opportunities. Using these different tools provides variety to teaching. It keeps students excited and engaged with learning tools that fit their learning styles.

TIPS: Digital tools that can be used in the classroom include YouTube tutorials, videos, podcasts, games, slides, online galleries, polls - the list could be endless.

3. Use digital storytelling techniques as a teaching method

Since time immemorial, stories have fascinated, intrigued and engaged us. Using storytelling in the classroom doesn't mean the teacher has to use literal stories. Research proves that digital storytelling can engage students' visual and auditory senses in a way that the written word cannot. In online classrooms, digital storytelling is the process of creating a story around a topic by adding several multimedia elements such as visuals, audio, and music to an overall scenario.

TIPS: Teachers can also use storytelling in the classroom by using video illustrations, case studies, and audio stories to keep students interested and engaged.

4. Creating community in the virtual classroom

One of the main reasons for students' lack of engagement in the classroom is a sense of isolation. Creating the sense that students belong to a community of learners helps to improve attention retention and learning processes in the classroom. This can be done by encouraging active communication between students and teachers, as well as by stimulating informal interaction between students through social media, study groups, online chats, email. These informal student networks enable online learners to form close bonds with their fellow students.

TIPS: Some other forms of communication that help foster interaction between students and faculty and peers include - chat rooms or instant messaging, broadcast texting, social media groups, etc.

5. Opportunities for collaboration

Online teaching has also helped teachers understand that student collaboration is the hallmark of a great teaching and learning environment with high student engagement. Research shows that online team teaching helps improve student engagement and learning outcomes.

TIPS: These collaborative opportunities can include group projects, group essays, group presentations where students do their research and then reconvene in small topical groups, or video chats to share their individual learning. This also helps to develop a better understanding of the idea.

A great technique is to encourage students to work together in pairs and analyze a topic.  They can then share what they have learned with the rest of the class This method works for learners who may feel lost in a large group discussion. Other collaborative tools for an engaged classroom include slides, polls, breakout room discussions, etc.

6. Using motivational tools for online learning

Using motivators such as digital certificates, badges, and points is a great way to keep students engaged. It helps to motivate learners throughout the course. They also serve as a reminder to students that their small contributions in the classroom or timely submission of assignments are being monitored and assessed. These digital motivators give students a sense of purpose that fuels their participation and engagement in the classroom

TIPS: For example, the teacher can create badges for the most questions asked, the most participation in class discussions, etc.

In conclusion,
Transitioning from a face-to-face classroom to an online learning platform is challenging for students and especially for teachers who need to go the extra mile to engage students. This requires the use of new teaching tools and techniques that appeal to students using screens to learn in isolation. Although this is a challenge, with the right teaching tools it can help students stay motivated, learn better, faster and retain information for longer.

Look us up or email us on the form below. We are experienced in creating online training and can help you.Contact phone number :+359 2 8505364

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