The Coronavirus pandemic has seen a massive shift from the classroom to online learning. Teachers, parents and students hoped this would be short-lived, however, the on-going pandemic means schools are having to adopt a hybrid model until it is brought under control. In this post, we outline the top six tips for successful virtual learning and how unified communications can help both teachers and students.
While online learning isn’t new, it does present challenges to both educators and learners – things like technical issues, access to technology, meeting the needs of different learning styles and the social isolation that can accompany learning online.
The suite of unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) tools offered by Blackstar Solutions can help alleviate some of these obstacles. Let’s get into it.
- Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate
Online learning doesn’t need to be one-sided. Make a success of your virtual classroom by encouraging collaboration between educators and students, and amongst the students themselves.
Teachers can use videoconferencing solutions for lessons which allow students to ask questions in real-time. Virtual rooms allow students to work in small groups, whiteboard ideas, chat, share documents and ideas. Find out how Microsoft Teams is enabling collaboration here.
- Personalise it
Not everyone learns the same way. Sitting down at a computer and watching a live lecture or video may work for some students, but may alienate others. UC&C solutions enable your learners to access content on their device of choice from their location of choice, allowing them to learn in the best way that suits their learning style.
Educators can present content in multiple formats – real-time lectures allow for questions to be asked when they arise. Pre-recorded videos present content in smaller chunks which are more easily absorbed and can be viewed multiple times.
- Feedback, and fast
Lack of feedback is one of the biggest obstacles to online learning and can contribute to the feeling of isolation that some online learners experience. UC&C solutions provide multiple channels for providing feedback to learners, leveraging the tools they use every day, such as their mobile phone or tablet.
Schedules, a syllabus and other course expectations can be posted in a virtual workspace, keeping learners focused. Students can be kept motivated and rewarded with celebratory videos, virtual certificates or badges.
- Become interactive
Teachers don’t use the same teaching method in the classroom every day – they mix up activities which keeps learners engaged. There’s no reason why it can’t be the same online. An online course consisting of only video lectures or pre-recorded videos is going to get old quickly.
UC&C keeps classes interesting by leveraging a mixture of video, group chat, screen sharing, whiteboarding and polls. Our UC&C solutions support open APIs, allowing for integration with existing applications and customization for the right solution for your students.
- Encourage questions
It’s easy to hide behind a muted camera in a virtual classroom instead of engaging in discussion and asking questions when they arise. While encouraging discussion, teachers can use UC&C to provide multiple ways for students to be heard, including email, online chat, or live Q&A. The more options there are, the more comfortable students will be.
- Know your limits
Our final tip is you can’t do everything virtually that you would do in the classroom. Whilst UC&C solutions can help deal with a lot of the obstacles presented by online learning, there are some things that just won’t make the transition well. And that’s fine. Knowing and accepting this is important for learner and parent satisfaction, as well as for the teacher. However, don’t let that get in the way of getting creative with online learning.
We hope you found these tips for successful virtual learning useful if have any to add then email us firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to hear your tips.
Recent research suggests that learners retain more information with online distance learning and it takes less time, meaning that the changes forced upon educators may be here to stay.
During this time successful virtual learning can be a challenge, don’t let the technology get in the way. To find out more or to book a discovery session, visit blackstarsolutions.co.uk/education or call 0333 123 2 123