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Top 5 online learning tips for teachers

Wed 11 Sep 2019

Top 5 online learning tips for teachers

In the UK, over 270,000 undergraduate students and around 108,000 postgraduate students study through online learning. With students seeking more flexibility around their studies and with rapid technological advances, the number of students studying online continues to grow worldwide.

Here are our top 5 online learning tips for teachers:

1.       Restructure your syllabus into manageable chunks

The key to creating an effective online course is to appropriately organise your course material.

Break down your course contents into easily-digestible chunks and present them in a format that students will find manageable and easy to navigate.

When presenting your online course, you’ll need to consider the students that will be following your online course and how well they will be able to interpret the information they’re given.

Also keep in mind that you need to find a balance between incorporating too many lessons, which may deter or intimidate students, and incorporating too few, which may give the impression the course is easy and of a low academic standard.

2.       Incorporate video content

Thanks in part to their easily-digestible format, videos have become a staple in online learning courses.

Incorporating video content into your online courses offers you and your students numerous benefits, including:

·       Greater engagement

·       Enhanced learning experiences

·       Increased learning resources

·       Audiovisual learning

·       Greater flexibility and accessibility around when and where students can access course content

Even if you don’t have an in-house videographer, you can easily produce quality videos yourself with a laptop or smartphone.

Remember to keep your videos as short as possible to keep your students engaged. As a guide, you should aim to make your videos no longer than 6 minutes.

3.       Include online quizzes

One of the most effective (and fun) ways for you to ensure you students are successfully following and progressing through your online course is to include regular short quizzes in your course content.

Regular quizzes have been shown to help students retain learning materials for a longer period of time, and provide a number of other benefits, including:

·       Identifying knowledge gaps

·       Promoting further study

·       Increasing motivation for continuous improvement

·       Providing instant performance feedback to students and teachers

You can include both graded and non-graded quizzes in your course content. Including non-graded quizzes at regular course intervals will enable you and your students to regularly track progress as well as provide your students with a fun way to learn without the pressure of worrying about grades.

4.       Create discussion forums

Discussion forums are an excellent way for you to promote collaboration, interaction and engagement among your students with your online course.

Online discussion forums provide your students with the opportunity to easily interact with their classmates (as well as with you, their teacher) whenever they wish and from wherever they may be.

Students can delve deeper into discussions that were raised during class, ask questions about course materials and get advice, and even just socialise.

Just be mindful there are a few things to consider when including discussion forums in your online course:

·       Netiquette: Establish the rules for behaviour and interaction and clearly communicate these. You’ll also need to ensure these rules are enforced.

·       Discussion topics: Create forums around thought-provoking topics to promote engaging discussions.

·       Monitor discussions: Keep on the lookout for unanswered questions from your students, and students who aren’t actively participating and need encouragement.

5.       Familiarise yourself with the right technology

Inevitably, online learning does require an element of tech-savviness. The good news is that with the right online learning platform, most of the work will be done for you.

Investing in the right hardware and software, as well as having a strong Internet connection, will make your job all the much easier when creating and managing your online course.

But perhaps the most important technical element you’ll need to consider is which online learning platform you’ll utilise to deliver your course. Keep in mind that whichever platform you choose, it will need to:

·       Provide accessibility and flexibility around how and when students can access course content

·       Allow for a range of interactive content

·       Be easy-to-use and intuitive

You can check out PCMag UK’s list of best learning management systems.

Falmouth Flexible offers an online Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE) that you can study alongside your work and will help you effectively harness the power of online learning and incorporate it into your teaching practice.