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5 things to avoid during online learning

8 min read
online learning

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For perhaps the primary time in recent memory, parents and teachers could also be actively encouraging their children to spend longer on their electronic devices. Online learning has moved to the front stage as 90 percent of high-income countries are using it because of the primary means of educational continuity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

If March will forever be remembered because the month that virtually all the world’s countries closed their school doors, will April be remembered because the month that the scholars round the world embraced the planet of online learning?

There is no shortage of optimistic speculation from education experts and innovators that this experience will have a transformative effect on education after the pandemic is over. The hope is that teachers are going to be more well-versed within the range and use of quality online learning resources, schools will welcome innovation that drives better and more enriched learning experiences, and students will demand more interesting multimedia and multi-modal learning experiences.

I certainly hope this may be true. But what if it’s not?

There is some evidence that such hope won’t materialize, a minimum of if we continue with what we do now. Christopher Pommering, founding father of Learn life, a worldwide network dedicated to fostering lifelong learning practices, says many of the 1,000 school leaders across the 60 countries in its network report that both teachers and students are burning out from trying to conduct the normal school day in a web environment.

“We are being flooded with requests for assistance on the way to develop effective and interesting remote learning experiences, especially after the primary or second week during which schools attempt to transfer their normal curriculum to a web format and fogeys and teachers know it doesn’t work,” he says.

To understand the main pitfalls of online learning and what we’d like to try to to to avoid them, I recently spoke with Richard Culatta, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (Editor’s note: ISTE is that the parent organization of EdSurge.) As someone who earned his stripes as a classroom teacher and designer of multiple online courses, and who previously held positions because the Chief Innovation Officer for the State of Rhode Island and Director of the Office of Education Technology for the U.S. Department of Education, Richard may be a go-to person for exploring the shift we are experiencing in learning today.

As Richard posits, if we aren’t careful to avoid the pitfalls, “it will guarantee that no-one will ever want to try to online learning again after coronavirus is over.”

1. The Content Trap

When you check out moving a faculty online, the primary question is usually, “What content can we got to make available?” Immediately everybody’s mind goes to uploading chapters of the textbook and worksheets to Google Classroom. People often forget that the training content is one small fraction of an efficient learning experience.

When people fall under the content trap, online learning has all of the materials but none of the guts. Students are just sitting there, clicking “next” through presentations that are uploaded to an LMS. It’s painful to observe. you’ll see the youngsters slipping into a coma while they sit there. It teaches kids to hate learning. It teaches them that learning is boring.

To avoid the content trap, it’s important to believe |to contemplate” to think about all of the critical elements of learning and think about the way to design them for a virtual space. for instance, what do virtual conversations appear as if, or virtual art projects?

Or what about digital recess? There are many fun ways to try to recess during a virtual space. you’ll certainly do group exercises ahead of the pc but, counting on the age of the youngsters, you’ll use free apps, some with geotagging, to frolic the block and see how far you’ve got gone or do a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood.

The point is: Don’t just upload scanned textbooks and worksheets and think it’s getting to be an honest learning experience. It’s actually getting to be a horrendously boring and painful learning experience. If that’s what we’re getting to do, we’d question whether it’s better to only not do learning in the least.

2. The One-Size-Fits-All Trap

When we move to a web environment, we shouldn’t assume that one approach or sort of activity will work for all students (and frankly, we shouldn’t assume this within the classroom either). it’s easy to make online assignments without remembering that each student has unique needs, interests, and challenges.

Fortunately, it seems that providing personalized learning experiences is one of the areas where online learning can improve the classroom experience. Since every kid isn’t sitting within the same classroom at an equivalent time, there’s no excuse to not have them performing on a spread of various activities that align with their own unique interests and strengths. If a child is learning math, for instance, programs like Dreambox Learning or Zearn can adapt to the requirements of every individual learner and share progress with teachers and fogeys.

This is particularly important for special populations, like young children, English learners, or students with physical, emotional, or cognitive challenges. we’ve Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for a reason, and that we can’t forget that once we move online we also need a digital IEP where we create a private program using the virtual environments.

Fortunately, there are many digital tools to facilitate this. for a few kids, it might be as simple as installing screen readers or using voice commands. For others, it’d mean breaking the content into smaller pieces and having more check-ins. There is a spread of apps, like Newsela, that adapt and adjust the content to a good sort of English proficiency. At ISTE, we are launching a replacement course for teachers around designing online learning with special populations in mind.

3. The Isolation Trap

Teaching and learning online doesn’t mean learning alone. But many of us forget that. School provides critical human interactions—a chance to interact with friends, not only on a social level but also for learning. It also provides the prospect for mentorship from an adult. There are tons of various ways to try to that online. In fact, I might argue it’s going to be even easier to try to peer collaboration in virtual spaces.

There are an entire bunch of tools that will facilitate collaboration without a number of the challenges, like noise, that you simply run into within the classroom. within the classroom, we limit our social learning experience to other kids within the class. But once you are during a virtual space, that kind of collaboration might be with kids all around the world.

It is also an excellent thanks to believing incorporating experts that, frankly, would never come to the varsity face to face. during a virtual space, you’ll invite a book author, engineer or legislator to interact together with your students directly. That access to expertise and global peers can make online learning a way more connected environment than the normal classroom.

4. The Teaching Transfer Trap

Another big pitfall is thinking that if you recognize the way to teach within the physical world, all you would like to try to do is simply log onto a web tool, and you’ll be effective at teaching within the virtual world. that’s just absolutely not true.

Of course, the essential foundations of learning are equivalent. But the way you manifest those during a virtual space is extremely different. for instance, if you’re trying to assess student learning online, an educator who doesn’t have experience teaching online might revert to using multiple-choice tests or uploading worksheets. within the virtual classroom, there are many more options for assessing learning than there are within the traditional classroom, but no teacher is born knowing the way to do that.

While the essential principles of assessing learning remain an equivalent, teachers must learn new approaches for authentic assessment during a virtual space. for instance, you would possibly ask them to form their own Khan Academy-style videos explaining the way to solve a drag. you’ll even produce other members of the category review the script for accuracy, as a test of their knowledge. Using document histories the teacher can see all of the contributions that different students have made along the way.

But teachers need support to find out skills like authentic online assessment. it’s inappropriate to only expect that because an educator is basically good during a physical classroom, that he or she is going to suddenly just skills to be an honest teacher during a virtual classroom. Teachers also should be recognized for the talents they develop during this domain.

5. The Learning-is-Serious Trap

For some reason when learning moves to a virtual space, it generally also becomes far more serious. I’ve watched this happen over and once again . an educator who is funny and interesting within the physical classroom often don’t skills to convey that “fun-ness” through virtual tools. When that happens, learning becomes very serious and, honestly, boring.

Fortunately, there are many simple ways to form virtual classroom fun. In virtual classrooms, something as simple as playing music when people check in to the session can completely change the tone, and signal “this may be a fun place, we’re getting to learn and it’s getting to be fun.” Using video interstitial transitions can both hack the experience and add humor. Creating polls is different to stay learning fun and may still be associated with the subject. If you’re having a math class, posting a silly question like “what may be a vampire number?” (yes, that’s a true thing) and seeing what answer students choose can help lighten the experience of being online.

Ultimately, learning online can have many benefits and permit for brand spanking new ways to interact and challenge students. But as long as schools don’t fall under these five traps. It’s upon school leaders to make sure that educators are supported and trained to try to just that.

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