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12 Oct 2017

5 Tips for Colleges to Make the Shift To eLearning

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Going from teaching in a classroom to training online is a massive change, no doubt, but with a little study and preparation, you can gain the flexibility and quick admittance that students are looking for. Carefully preparing is a must to ensure the success of an eLearning course, to offer a positive student experience and maximising time spent with students. Here are few tips on how to transition smoothly based on our experiences over the last decade.

Find The eLearning Course Format

There are different formats you can convert your content to. The form you select will help you shape the customised eLearning college course. The three ways are

a) Asynchronous Learning: In such a format the students and instructors don’t interact regularly. Favorite examples are self-paced online courses, Q & A’s, discussion boards and email. Asynchronous learning happens where a single learner connects right away to the content through a technology system, capitalising on time flexibility to allow the learner to control the pace, schedule, and location of the course.

b) Synchronous Learning: A real-time, teacher-led eLearning program where all applicants are logged on at the same time and communicate directly with each other. The interaction may also occur via audio or video conferencing, Internet telephony, or two-way live broadcasts. Online learners and teachers find synchronous learning more social, where asking and answering questions is possible in real time.

c) Hybrid or Blended Learning: Learning curricula that mix synchronous and asynchronous learning, with face-to-face instruction is blended learning. According to research and our experience, the hybrid or blended learning format has most advantages as it uses the benefits of both synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Investigate Various Instructional Design Models

There are several Instructional design models that can help you convert your traditional college degree course to an eLearning format. However, the most popular one called the Nine Events of Instruction created by Robert Gagne is considered to be the most appropriate. Using an instructional design module is critical to ensure that the content offered is safe, firm, detailed and quicker than average.

Use of Communication

Communication is one of the most critical aspects of an eLearning course. But, understanding the need for communication and what you hope to achieve with it is a must. Interaction at the right time and right place are crucial to ensure success.  There are three ways to communicate

a)  Student to Content – this refers to the communication between the online student and the subject matter.

b)  Student to Teacher –this refers to the interaction between the tutor and the online student through e-mail, chat, Q & A, virtual classroom discussions or video conferencing.

c)  Student to Student –this refers to interaction among students with or without the presence of an instructor. Online discussions, group projects etc. are where such communication happens.

Depending on the format for the eLearning Course and the Instructional Design Model you have chosen, you can select the kind of communication for the online course.

Select the Correct Instructive Technology

Learning of any kind is more effective when you interact with the learning materials and the learning environment. Putting your knowledge to practical uses such as creating new learning material for other students and communicating with them about it, helps to enhance your learning capabilities. For example, based on a social pedagogy, Multiversity offers several interactive course features that will enhance an eLearning course. Thorough research to find the technology that is most suitable will help you attain your goals.

Revise

Offering the course to online students as soon as you finish converting it from a classroom curriculum is not the right approach. Take the time and revise your eLearning course before deploying it. Follow these simple steps when you want to review.

  • Survey – Set up a study to check the effectiveness of -the content, site design, course plotting, and design aesthetics. The questions should include both qualitative and quantitative features, its usefulness, the GUI, ease of access, the content and instructional design standards used.
  • Expert Panel – Make sure a panel of subject matter experts, eLearning developers and instructional designers review your subject matter thoroughly.
  • Revise the Web-Based Course –Based on their productive responses, you must revise the eLearning course.
  • Beta Testing and Expert Panel –Once your revisions are complete, the same expert panel should re-check the online course.
  • Analyzing Data –Analyzing the feedback from the survey and expert comments should give you an idea on areas of improvement before the module is ready to be deployed.

After final revisions, you can safely offer it to your online students. However, do remember to revise content based on your students’ feedback.

 

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