“The future of e-learning is wide open! Learning doesn’t just happen during business hours in the office or in the classroom. It happens everywhere through a number of different channels.” –Eric Schuermann
Distance/online education are the new, innovative forms of learning for students, making education more accessible. Sure they are new but not unpopular. You may not be aware of this but the affinity for distance education has increased by 31% in the past three years. The availability of the internet has transformed the process of education in many ways that we can only imagine. From admission to fee payments to giving exams, all of it can be conducted via online or distance modes.
It is because of the availability of distance education that even learners irrespective of social or geographical isolation or any other disadvantages, can still have access to resources, and quality information and stay connected to a world of learning. The Internet combined with other networking tools can act as an online classroom that brings different learners together for an education that is interactive as well as productive and interesting at the same time.
However, learning by distance mode of education can often be monotonous and may feel like a long process. Therefore, innovative styles of teaching have to be adopted to make distance education a more fun and engaging learning process so that the students also feel productive and involved at the same time.
Why does Distance Education feel less Engaging?
When a virtual classroom is set up using the web and its tools, at times, we may fail to create real-life interactions among the learners. In such cases, distance education can feel unappealing and more like a task to handle. There are some more reasons why distance education can feel less productive and less immersive compared to conventional styles of teaching and learning methods.
- Less involvement of students
- Technical problems
- Real knowledge way different than acquired knowledge
- Issue of socialisation
- No special focus on students needing specific educational needs
- The only focus is to complete the curriculum
All these issues arise when the teaching-learning process is mundane and anodyne and does not bring out the best in the students. There are various ways that the learning process can be made more enthralling and riveting. Below are some ways to use different teaching methods to make learning a more productive and enjoyable process for the students.
Innovative Distance Teaching Methods: Shortening the Virtual Distance
Change is the only constant and it also holds true when we see the field of education being revamped by the availability of a humongous variety of tools on the internet. Distance or online education today has become the new face of learning, but at the same time, innovative teaching styles have to be adopted to make sure that the learners experience the same quality of learning that they do in old-style classrooms. Here are some ways that teaching can be made innovative for distance education to engage learners in a more fun way and to make the learning process more interesting.
Exploring and Making the Best Use of the Internet and Its Tools
If you are using the internet as a medium to disseminate information, it is utterly important that we know the right techniques and ways to use it. There are always new techniques and approaches coming up in the field of technology so those who are teaching should stay updated and know how to use different tools available to make learning a more dimensionally enveloping experience.
Using different interactive tools, using audio and visual tools to enhance learning, holding online personal sessions, etc. are some ways to make teaching a more resourceful method for the students.
Active Virtual Participation
One of the biggest problems faced in online/distance education is less socialisation amongst the learners. One of the easiest ways to tackle this problem is actively engaging the students in participating in different activities virtually like teleconferencing, presentations, seminars, quizzes, etc. giving them the chance to hold leadership and at the same time engage with other learners. This will help build a competitive spirit in them and at the same time inculcate leadership quality and will bring the best output out of students.
Collaborative + Personalised Learning Mode
The learning has to be collaborative and personalised at the same time in terms of teaching. Collaborative learning methods will help students feel connected and socialise with their peers while personal learning methods will offer more effective and engaging learning experiences depending on a student’s personal needs and interests. These two methods synchronously will help students achieve their learning goals, and at the same time develop teamwork and communication skills, both entirely important in today’s professional scenario.
Assessments and Feedback: Student’s Best Pal
Assessment and feedback are very important, especially in distance education. Assessments are a way to know how much students have been able to grasp the concepts and retain the knowledge that they are being served with. Feedback will help them nurture their weak points and will help strengthen their core areas. Assessment and feedback can be a student’s best friend to develop their skills, help them improve and let them know what areas are their strengths, what areas they need to work on and where they competitively stand amongst their peers, all in a healthy way.
Virtually Flipped Classroom: Flipping the Learning Experience
The virtually flipped classroom system has proven to be one of the best innovative teaching methods in distance education. This model of learning involves students going beyond their curriculum and explore more about what is there to learn in their respective fields. Since students have more flexibility in distance/online learning classes, this helps them with developing problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. This also gives way for students to engage in more in-depth research and discussions with their peers to create a learning environment that is beneficial for everyone.
When the process of learning is conducted using the internet, web tools and a screen, innovative teaching techniques have to be utilised so as to make learning productive and immersive. But at the same time, teaching also has to be different in its approach to keep it interesting for the students to be able to keep them engaged and disseminate information to them. It not only creates a new learning environment but also supports the new paradigm shift that has come in the field of education and the learning-teaching process.
Aayushi is an avid reader, writer and travel enthusiast. She has been working as a Content Creator for 8 years and has been employed in the Education industry for the last two years. She has worked in multiple niches. She is always looking for opportunities to learn new things and grow; and wants to contribute maximum to the cause of education, upholding the Sustainable Development Goal 4.