During the lockdown period, many educators across the globe had to switch to an online teaching platform for lending instructions as it was the only hope to continue learning. If you are also an educator who has recently taken over to the online mode of teaching and tackling a virtual class of hundreds or even thousands of students then facing challenges must be a painful part of it. But luckily there is always a way out to handle all the challenges efficiently and emerge as a successful person.
Below mentioned are the top 3 challenges that you are likely to face especially if it is your first-time virtual teaching session using a social learning platform. Also, the solution to each challenge is there to help you navigate a path with better possibilities.
1ST Challenge- Engaging Learners
As compared to face-to-face classes, online classes can give a backseat to the students turning them into passive learners instead of active participants. These passive learners might be attending all your virtual lectures and writing assignments but their learning process ends right then and there instead of being a part of the outside virtual classroom schedule. Such passive learners pass the tests and also complete learning activities but they are unable to connect the present learning with any of that done in the past. This hampers the overall process of long term retention of knowledge. To make the process of learning more effective, learners need to be totally involved with the classes right from starting till the end.
Strategy to beat this challenge
When you are teaching your students using social learning network or an online teaching platform it is important that you become proactive to engage your learners with a course material with which the students can relate and make sense. Opening ample possibilities for your learners to connect with the course content will help them in retaining the learning material, long after when they have even completed the course.
Educators must understand the fact that learners will only connect with the course material if they think it is valuable for them. Social learning platform opens a wide scope to create digital courseware wherein the educator can use the power of videos, audios, recordings, images, and PDFs to present the course content to learners more creatively and interestingly.
2nd Challenge - Establishing a connection with the students
In virtual classrooms, the process of teaching is mostly one way, which doesn’t include equal participation of the students causing them to disconnect from the educator and also the peers. In online teaching, it is difficult for the educator to get visual cues from the learners on how well are they comprehending the lesson and how actively are they participating in the session.
Strategy to beat this challenge
In an online teaching and learning environment, feedbacks work as a significant part in building connections with the students. Right after the students complete a task, activity, or assignment, the educator should provide individual feedback based on their performance, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. The feedbacks shouldn’t be evaluative in nature and must focus on the learning objective of that particular lesson or course. The educators must specify to the learners the reason for giving feedback and how can they improve on the topic. Feedbacks also give space to the learners to recognize their own shortcomings and explore new ways to strengthen their understanding of the topic.
To provide regular feedback, educators can make use of the quiz creation feature which is available with some of the best online teaching platform for free. Regular quizzes and formative assessments create a ground for active learning and a constant feedback loop. Educators can also track student progress through the weekly course report feature which is available in some of the online learning platforms. Overall, providing feedbacks and regularly tracking student progress helps in identifying struggling students after which the educator can lend personal attention to them.
3rd Challenge - Student Collaboration
In the conventional classroom system, students are always in touch with each other discussing and solving problems as one. But online classroom ecosystem can lack this type of collaboration if the educator doesn’t pay any heed to this basic requirement. Active interaction amongst students is vital to the success of online education. Student collaboration promotes goal-based learning motivating them towards a deeper understanding of the lessons and solving miscellaneous doubts together. When students are not physically together in a classroom setting, achieving collaboration can become a hassle for the teachers.
Many of the online classroom activities fail to initiate natural conversation between the students. Any posts or questions by the educators are answered by the learners and can create to and fro response sessions even amongst the students but it is all a response to teachers activity rather than an organic form of conversation.
Strategy to beat this challenge
To encourage peer collaboration on the path of problem-solving, educators can assign students with group activities in which they all can work together without the interference of the teacher. The learning strategy that is aimed towards problem-solving becomes a collaborative learning strategy wherein students are required to implement their course-related knowledge to solve real-world problems as groups.
This type of problem-solving approach is useful in both ways whether it is group learning or individual learning as it increases the creative and critical thinking in learners. In the group, problem-solving activities students can collaborate with each other’s strong skills and come to a conclusion together. Students who are passive or introverted can also come forth in this type of participation and lend their ideas for helping their classmates.
The sudden switch to social learning network and online teaching platforms is a boon in many ways but yet few things are difficult, which also includes adjusting to new ways of teaching and learning. It needs a lot of dedication and restructuring of the entire pedagogy to suit the new requirements of virtual learning.