How to Improve the Effectiveness of Online Learning

Embracing digital communication through emails, student chat rooms, social media channels, online forums and more is the key to increasing the effectiveness of online learning. Students can interact with classmates and ask questions relevant to the course and assignments. John Mitchell is a professor of computer science and former vice-chancellor for teaching and learning at Stanford. Maxwell Bigman is a PhD candidate at Stanford Graduate School of Education.

The two surveyed the online experiences of the Stanford Department of Computer Science, home of the university's largest undergraduate major with more than 2,000 declared students. How to improve version 2.0 of online learning. Here are some simple and straightforward ways to ensure that the second round of online learning is significantly better than it was in the spring. We owe it to our students to ensure that Virtual Learning 2.0 is far superior to what it was last spring.

Technology allows us to go beyond replacement and redefine learning. As we move into a new school year, we have an opportunity to reflect and consider incorporating some of the following effective online learning practices: Ensuring that content is accessible means knowing that a document should never be scanned, since a screen reader cannot read, translate, or complete it online. Instead, you should use an accessible source document or create new content with accessibility in mind. Therefore, you need to learn how to create content that has alternative text, a proper heading structure, meaningful hyperlinks, closed captions for videos, and adequate color contrast.

It's also important to write in simple language so that content can be more easily understood and translated. The National Center for Accessible Educational Materials (opens in a new tab) has resources and courses to help teachers create accessible content. One of the best things about online courses is that assessment can become more of an ongoing process. This is good news for students, as interspersing multimedia content and learning materials with regular short exams can improve student participation.

In fact, Harvard research showed that using these short, regular tests halved student distraction, tripled note-taking, and improved overall student retention of content. On the one hand, e-learning courses have become very popular because of the simple virtue of being much more convenient than traditional face-to-face courses. While online programs have significant strengths and offer unprecedented accessibility to quality education, there are inherent weaknesses in the use of this medium that can pose potential threats to the success of any online program. Asynchronous online education gives students control over their learning experience and allows flexibility of study schedules for non-traditional students; however, this imposes greater accountability on the student.

Students can adapt them to their current responsibilities and commitments, and can interact with multimedia content and learning materials at a time that is most convenient for them. An instructor can compile an online resource section with links to academic articles, institutions, and other materials relevant to the course topic so that students can access them for in-depth research, expansion, or analysis of course content. When everything works smoothly, technology is designed to be discreet and is used as a tool in the learning process. An anonymous survey can provide many points of view on your students' current circumstances, their assessment of what the spring semester was like, and their opinions on how online education can be improved.

For an online program to be successful, the curriculum, facilitator, technology, and students must be carefully considered and balanced to take full advantage of the strengths of this format while avoiding difficulties that could result from its weaknesses. Schools that have space limitations can explore partnerships with other places in the community for students to learn. Some schools simply used an online platform as a substitute for in-person learning, which could have involved providing students with scanned worksheets or reading material and expecting them to respond on paper. If they don't have these technological tools, they won't succeed in an online program; a student or faculty member who can't function in the system will drag the entire program down.

Curriculum and teaching methodology that succeed in teaching in the field will not always translate into a successful online program where the paradigms of learning and instruction are quite different. In addition, the online format allows students (and teachers) with physical disabilities more freedom to participate in class. Many of the qualities that make an online facilitator successful are also tremendously effective in the traditional classroom. IBM has found that participants learn five times more material in online learning courses using multimedia content than in traditional in-person courses.