How schools need to adapt in light of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has closed schools, colleges, and other educational institutions everywhere, sending the world’s education system into a state of uncertainty. The pandemic is forcing the educational institutions to shift quickly from in-person to online learning. However, shifting to online learning is not an easy task and there are lots of things to consider when formulating this approach.
Following are some things schools should take into account when embracing to online/remote learning approach:
Design Based on Learning Objectives
One of the most important things to do is to determine the online learning according to the specific learning objective that the school has. Once the main objective for the courses is determined, schools can begin implementing ways to improve the online learning experience for students. Since the primary objective of schools is to teach and communicate information, it would be a good idea to use the digital platforms to take the pulse of the students during lectures via question functions or polling. This real-time feedback of engagement and interests of the students is highly beneficial and many institutions such as Econs Tuition implement this in Singapore. Schools also need to provide follow-up readings to reinforce the information shared.
Impart Clear Rules of Interaction
Schools need to restate their expectations and send emails to students’ parents in order to remind the objectives and outcomes for the online courses, in addition to any adaptations to guidance about participation and attendance. If the classes/sessions are to be recorded, clarify it beforehand as to where and how the recordings will be used. Furthermore, include information about the basics of being respectful in an online learning environment e.g. when and why to use the mute function, how to ask questions, dress code, etc.
Set the Stage for Successful Interaction
Interpersonal interactions generally seem cold when it comes to online/remote learning. Teachers must keep it mind to set the stage for successful interaction. Eye contact with the students is essential. Gazing directly at the webcam as well as adapting other online learning etiquettes will surely promote better overall interaction. Apart from this, appropriate lighting can also make a difference. Audio is crucial for communicating learnings in online classes. Using external microphones would be good idea to ensure quality.
Be Concise and Engaging
Even if the course requires the teachers to impart a lot of content via each class, schools should keep class durations in mind when shifting to online learning. According to studies, students typically lose interest after 15-20 minutes. So, it is recommended to limit the online classes to no more than half an hour. This limit can help the students be more focused and motivated during class discussions and activities. Multiple sessions with breaks are recommended for classes that require more time. This approach is evident in most online classes, for example for JC economics tuition online.
Use Peer-to-Peer Interaction to Foster Community
Learning does not simply end with online class and it definitely should not be passive. Schools should plan and implement some human interaction outside of online class to reinforce learning and foster debates and idea exchanges. Peer-to-peer learning helps students enhance their teamwork, critical thinking, and communication skills. It also provides an opportunity for students to discover how they learn best.
Embracing the alternative way to learning is a must for schools in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to take the above-listed considerations into account as you formulate your online learning approach.