Making Online Distance Courses More Worthwhile With Human Element

The concept of online distance learning has greatly helped many to achieve desired knowledge and skill for academic and career advancement. There are several advantages of online learning which has made it a popular knowledge tool. More students are enrolling in e-learning courses and there is significant growth of online learners from year to year. Amid several benefits of online learning, there is one element which still need to conjoin to ample extent at web-based learning. This is nothing but human element. Unlike traditional learning, at online education- face to face interaction does not takes place. However, video conference with Skype and others teachers and students interact among themselves. But this volume of communication may not be sufficient for all categories of students.

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Online learning: Designing course

Providing top quality education materials are fine. But certain other things should be there to add human element into the online courses.

Jennifer Merrill, Instructional Designer, Salisbury University says before designing the e-learning course one should ask, “How would you design this course for face-to-face delivery and What kinds of things might be missing if the course is to be taught online?”

According to her, “They’re used to being able to click on a page and look at what they want to look at. So, maybe in the design process, we don’t necessarily create learning modules that force them through steps. Maybe they can make choices about what they read and when, because adult learners need to be able to learn something that’s important to them right now.”

Merrill has rightly pointed out some essential points that online learning facilitators need to consider. While drafting the online course programme, designers need to take due note of:

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  • In traditional learning if group work is the imperative part so things should remain similar in the case to online learning programmes.
  • Students should be provided with the scope of frequent interaction among peers and online teachers.
  • Utilising the fit tools/techs that would allow/help students and teachers to connect or communicate.
  • Providing links and guiding to view course relevant videos from YouTube and others to make learning enriching besides suggesting the Power Point Presentations, texts and PDFs.

Feedback is essential

After designing the course, the focus should be on feedback. There are instances where the lack or delayed feedback have not gone well with the students. Hence, replying to students queries doubts and questions effectively and in real time is crucial. Merrill points out some to render feedback for the students:

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  • Online instructors should engage to online discussion boards to make students realise that you are there. However, teachers should only involve in topic and lesson related discussions i.e., answering to questions and doubts.
  • Communicate via email. Send learners separate email and inform them about their performance and work to guide or accolade.
  • With voice thread, teachers can effectively show their students that feedback has been provided.
  • In case, if any pertinent learning resources or references are found, teachers should share the link with students at the announcement part. This’ll make learners feel that online instructor is active in the learning programme.
  • Make space where students can voice their opinion. Survey and polls are the effective way to ask for how the learning is occurring and other things learners would like to raise. This would make feedback system two instead of one way.
  • Participate and motivate learners to involve in some additional activities. Evaluation of the learners life experiences and interests.
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It matters

Online learning has the potential to deliver real learning to millions of students. Especially for whom learning is important but due to the professional and personal commitment they engage in higher learning. However, online learning facilitators should not only make things restricted to technologies only. The human element is equally substantial for web-based learning system. Because at the end the learner is-Human.

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