Apply These 6 Secret Techniques To Improve Online Courses
Let’s be honest: running online courses can be tricky. It can be even more challenging if you’re used to teaching in a physical classroom. Online courses have revolutionized the way we learn and acquire new skills. Whether a student seeking to expand your knowledge or a professional aiming to enhance your career prospects, online courses offer a flexible and convenient learning experience.
However, only some online courses are created equal, and some may need more effective and engaging content. We have uncovered six secret techniques that can dramatically improve your experience to ensure you make the most of your online learning journey.
1. Promote a personal connection with your students through surveys
Instead of a mere introduction, take the extra step of conducting a student survey and share the results. You create a sense of transparency and personal connection by including your responses to the questions.
This anonymous survey provides valuable insights into your students’ circumstances and their assessment of previous semesters and helps you understand their motivations, expectations, and areas of interest. Additionally, it allows you to identify the support they may need, enhancing their overall learning experience.
2. Kindle motivation by accentuating relevance
Motivation plays a crucial role in effective learning, and one of the primary contributors to motivation is perceived relevance. From the beginning, discuss the course’s utility, value, and applicability.
Help students understand how the free online courses serve as a foundation for advanced studies, equips them with specific skills, or address topics of personal interest. You inspire students to stay engaged and motivated throughout the course by highlighting the practical benefits and real-world connections.
3. Assist students in maintaining focus with structured guidance
The current health crisis has amplified the challenge of maintaining focus in online classes, increasing student failure rates. To combat this issue, provide students with the structure they need. Clearly outline the tasks to complete each week and ensure your instructions are easy to follow.
Prompt students consistently to remind them of upcoming activities, assignments, assessments, and deadlines. Moreover, structure each class session with clear goals, expectations, and frequent interactive elements like polls, breakout sessions, and questions. These tactics help combat attention lapses, keeping students engaged and focused on the learning material.
4. Boost a sense of community through small groups and availability
Break down larger classes into smaller units and encourage students to engage in icebreaker activities during breakout sessions. This allows them to get to know each other and share opinions, knowledge, and experiences.
Additionally, make yourself accessible before and after synchronous online classes, as being readily available makes it easier for students to reach out to you. Stay online beyond the “live” session to solicit questions, comments, and feedback, creating a supportive and interactive learning environment.
5. Simplify meaningful discussions
Ensure that oral or written discussions in chat or discussion forums genuinely contribute to students’ learning. Employ strategies such as brainstorming sessions to explore different approaches, comprehension exercises for mutual understanding, critiques to challenge arguments, diagnoses to deconstruct problems, and sharing activities for personal experiences and perspectives.
By structuring discussions effectively, you encourage active participation and more profound student engagement.
Key things to remember –
- Clearly define the objectives and purpose of the discussion to guide students’ contributions and ensure they align with the desired learning outcomes.
- Encourage students to share different viewpoints, ideas, and approaches during discussions. Foster an inclusive environment where everyone’s contributions are valued.
- Actively facilitate the discussion by asking probing questions, summarizing key points, and encouraging a more profound exploration of topics. Keep the discussion focused and on track.
- Foster a respectful and supportive atmosphere where students feel comfortable expressing their opinions and engaging in constructive dialogue—set ground rules for respectful communication.
- Encourage equal participation among students by allowing everyone to speak or contribute—prompt quieter students to share their thoughts and provide space for diverse voices to be heard.
- Promote critical thinking skills by encouraging students to analyze, question, and evaluate ideas presented during discussions. Challenge students to provide evidence and reasoning to support their perspectives.
6. Enhance student engagement with active learning
Sustaining student enthusiasm and interest is crucial over time. Incorporate active learning techniques during individual sessions by checking student comprehension, conducting polls, and posing questions. Encourage students to participate actively by asking them to pose questions in the chat or respond to inquiries.
Provide opportunities for active learning, such as research-based tasks, case studies analysis, text or media analysis, and the creation of multimedia content like blogs, podcasts, videos, posters, infographics, policy briefs, or local research projects. By involving students in hands-on activities, you increase their engagement and promote a dynamic learning experience even in a socially-distanced environment.
Applying these six secret techniques can significantly enhance the quality and effectiveness of online training. By adopting these techniques and staying committed to continuous improvement, instructors can create engaging and effective online courses that inspire and empower students to succeed in their learning journeys.