Ensuring learning adheres to the following 5 Ways to Improve Engagement & Continuity in Online Learning will be a big step towards increasing learner engagement, and research by the American Public University shows the level of learner satisfaction, perceived learning, and actual learning will also be increased. This is a win-win situation for learners and for their employers.
Prepare learners for the online learning experience
Some learners may be more used to learning in a classroom or meeting room may be participating in the online learning experience for the first time. To help learners get the most from their new environment, they should be given an introduction to online learning, to the learning platform they will be using, and their online course.
All learners should be required to go through the introduction to online learning the first time they register for the online course. It should be explained to them how online learning is different from the traditional classroom experience. Maybe even provide tips on time management, goal setting, and planning and prioritising learning.
Another great idea is to take learners on a guided video tour of the learning platform, pointing out the different features and functionality. This will help them find learning materials and their WIKI and also how to communicate with their tutor and fellow students, as well as how to search for help if required.
Tutors should also provide an introduction for learners to watch before the course begins. In this video tutors should review course requirements and provide estimates for the amount of time learners should spend each week on coursework.
Describe learning outcomes
It is highly useful for learners to understand what each course will mean to them. What do we mean by this? Well, by telling the learner before they begin their course what exactly they will be able to do after they have finished the course. They helps ensure learners understand the “why” behind the course material.
Deliver bite-size learning in chunks
The chunk concept was created by the Harvard psychologist George A. Miller in 1956. Miller said that short-term memory could only hold 5-9 chunks of information. Experts have differing opinions on the exact number of chunks a person can remember, but the main concept is that people have limited capacity in their short-term memory.
Delivering learning content in chunks and giving learners the opportunity to recall and review information will help learners commit the information to their long-term memory. Keep learners engaged by delivering content in different formats: videos, audio, text, etc.
Test learners comprehension & get them to implement what they’ve learned
Comprehension checking questions are vital to ensure learners have understood the concept they’ve just learned. Taking this a step further, get learners to complete a form of challenge where they have to apply what they’ve learned. For example this could include answering tutor questions. Learners are encouraged to refer back to the content when forming their answers, which serves as another opportunity to revisit the material.
Provide regular feedback
Post class feedback helps learners feel a sense of progress. Traditional error focused methods of post class feedback can be damaging to learners confidence. Suggestions for improvements can be made but this is also an opportunity to provide encouragement to learners on the things they are doing well and reminders on new items learned.
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