Soon after the arrival of the covid-19 pandemic on US shores, schools closed as administrators and parents prepared for digital classrooms. Unfortunately, many of those teachers and concerned parents found the nationwide online learning experiment to be a struggle.
The consensus now seems to be growing that schools across the country have started the new academic year. Social media is replete with posts from parents, teachers and students, describing a horrifying, depressing school day that often ends in tears all around. The same is true for employees and leaders attempting to navigate remote work, training and professional development.
Yet there is a learning opportunity hidden in the chaos, and your company can benefit from it. Given the ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus and the deadly disease it causes, it is no wonder that many business leaders and training consultants are deeply concerned about an individual returning to a training and development environment. This is why it is important to ensure that online learning options are as strong and attractive as possible.
Through that study, I have learned four best practices that will ensure that employees participating in remote training get better results when learning from home through a digital platform. By evaluating what went wrong in online learning, you can optimize your corporate training through distance learning platforms. These direct suggestions will help lighten the digital learning load for all participants.
1. Adjust your instructional approach from direct lecture to dialogue-based techniques.
Whether you are 14 years old or 20 years old in your career, staring silently at the screen for half a day is unlikely to create anything beyond boredom and despair. Most students receiving distance education give direct instruction or listening to a teacher for the duration of the class, which is their least preferred method. And in fact, one of the biggest mistakes is instructors are specifically following direct instruction. This approach throws up a complete section for learning keys: two-way dialogue between participants and instructors.
Instead, if you have very small class sizes (one to three participants), adopt straight two-way dialogue. With larger groups, explore the Socratic method, which should help generate a more lively participation among attendees. You can also ask employees who are participating in distance training to present a topic for discussion. These presentations do not have to last long; A few minutes will be enough to invest them in the classroom.
2. Limit the time allotted for each session.
What is the optimal length of time for an online class or workshop session? May be smaller than you think. Keep classes for 35-40 minutes. This is the point when most students, regardless of age, begin to move mentally from the task at hand. They will begin to divert attention, attract attention or engage in masking behavior so that the instructor and other participating colleagues do not notice that they are engaged in other activities such as social media or playing games. You are fighting a tough battle, so stop fighting and declare victory. Either move to a different topic, start hands-on or more participation sections for training or dismiss the class altogether.
3. Don’t worry about the size of a session.
This may conflict with every expert opinion you’ve encountered in the last six months, but hear me out. Once an online class or training session exceeds three or more participants, the two-way dialogue outlined above is very unlikely. Teachers will not have the space or time to hold that dialogue with each employee and thus strengthen the acquisition of new information.
Since this is not always possible, there are workarounds that you can put here, too. To counter the pitfalls of two-way interaction with a larger class size, use small group work or paired projects to better reinforce a small focus and ensure that you gain knowledge in participants Run effectively.
4. Assess often.
Assessments are important, whether you are teaching 10th grade algebra or new work on company policies. The more you understand exactly what and how much knowledge participants are receiving, the more you can take measures to optimize that process. Are they really grasping the material that the lecturer is trying to transmit to them? There is really only one way to know, and that is to assess student progress.
However, it is also important to ensure that quizzes, tests, and other projects designed for evaluation that are not designed to carry an already increased stress load to participants are designed for evaluation. Instead, look for ways to create low-stress assessments. Aim to make them entertaining whenever you can.
Right now, we all must work together to deal with the chaos caused by the ongoing epidemic. Whether you are working with placing new employees in a completely virtual setting or conducting continuing education classes, you can make that online training experience more engaging, productive and effective. As we spread our foot in what we see in our new normal form, these practices will also be valuable for the future of virtual education.
Photo by Jonathan Borba