HOW TO NAVIGATE EDUCATION IN AN E-LEARNING ENVIRONMENT


22 December 2021

In March of 2020, the United States went into a state of lockdown amidst growing concerns of the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, schools across the country shut down, and students at every level began to shelter in place at their homes. Many educational institutions turned towards e-learning as a supplement for the in-person classroom environment. Fast forward to 2021. There are several effective vaccines against the coronavirus on the market, and over 60% of the adult population has received at least one vaccination dose. With a growing immunity amongst the people, some aspects of life are returning to normal. Even if vaccinations are approved for children, schools in the future may likely continue with a hybridized learning environment, encompassing both in-person and online learning. With this being the case, we must prepare the current generation and next generation of learners to get the most out of the e-learning experience.

To prepare learners to navigate the e-learning environment, it is important that parents, students, and educators are on the same page. One of the biggest concerns for those in education is the possibility of students falling behind. With online learning, it can be harder for students, particularly those that require specialized attention, to keep up with lesson plans over Zoom. Class participation is an important factor in overall educational outcomes for students. With e-learning, it can be harder to engage students and get them to participate in activities, so students must have as many resources at their disposal as possible to improve the e-learning experience. To successfully navigate an e-learning environment, educational facilitators must motivate students and encourage them to engage in active learning. To do this, students must be made a part of shaping the learning environment. Students’ feedback will be important to lesson creation, course material, and learning outcomes, and e-learning courses and course creators must be flexible enough to change over time.

One of the advantages that today’s students have is their technological know-how. Most students are well versed in a variety of digital platforms. Educational providers should leverage their students’ technical prowess to create a more interactive e-learning environment, focusing on utilizing their strengths to teach them in ways that better suit them. This includes involving students in the creation of their educational content. Whether it is the creation of educational videos that they can share with the class or building an active tutorial or presentation that all students can contribute too, engaging with students’ creative and technical skills can add incredible value to the e-learning experience for both students and instructors.

 

Co-learning is also important for students in the e-learning environment. Participation with other students in the learning environment helps students learn various necessary skills that will help them succeed in the future. From communication to conflict resolution, students benefit from working together on projects. Group participation can be challenging through e-learning, as individuals must figure out how to communicate across a computer screen properly. Educational providers should create exercises that encourage group participation. Setting up small discussion groups can also help students who may be less vocal in larger groups to feel more confident in expressing their thoughts and working with classmates. E-learning may even encourage more group participation, as students who may be more apprehensive about speaking out loud can write their thoughts down and share them anonymously in a chatroom.

Online educational providers should also do their best to interact with their students as possible to be a valuable resource to them during their educational journey. Instructors should hold live sessions where students can ask them any questions they may have. Instructors should guide lessons along, all while encouraging students to take the lead in their learning experience. Students should feel both seen and heard by instructors. E-learning lessons should be made dynamic, engaging students on varying levels so that they can get the most out of them. It can be hard for a student to sit still and pay attention to an hour-long lecture, especially if it is being conducted over Zoom. Switching up lesson plans to include video content, group activities, and quiet time can help students break up the day. Microlearning can also be an excellent tool for students, as it can help them absorb and understand the material they are learning better.

Lastly, creating a set schedule is important for helping students navigate the online learning environment. Without a set schedule, it is easy for a student to lose track of time, making it harder for them to stay on task. This may lead to students falling behind on lesson material and reduced learning outcomes. Educators and parents should work with students to organize a schedule that students can stick to so that students can keep up with their studies online. Scheduling can help students remain focused and motivated with the tasks at hand and help educators keep up with student progress, and address problem areas faster.

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