If you thought online learning was just a short-term solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns, there is much to understand.
Remote teaching and learning, also known as online learning or e-learning, is growing in popularity thanks to its benefits. It is highly flexible, breaks away from the conventional classroom to be accessible from any location, and even helps save costs. It is no wonder that online learning continues its popularity despite the restrictions to the movement now being revoked.
Speaking statistically, online learning is growing, and how!
- The global remote learning industry grew by an exponential 900% since the pandemic
- 80% of companies and 50% of students have used an e-learning platform
- Remote learning has higher retention rates, with 25%-60% retention, much higher than physical learning, which has an 8%-10% retention rate.
- Online learning takes 40%-60% less time for employees and students compared to conventional learning patterns.
With e-learning being a top priority for educational institutions, government bodies, and organizations looking to upskill their workforce, online teaching and learning is crucial for the digital age.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the best practices that teachers can incorporate when it comes to creating slideshows and materials apt for online education.
Focus on the topic
The first place to start when crafting content for remote teaching is by putting together your objective from the slideshow.
What is the topic that you would be focusing on? How long will it be? Which content types will you be using – an interactive video, presentation, or other?
Depending on the objective of your slideshow or overall syllabus, the teaching staff needs to break down each topic into interactive lessons. The ideal is to ensure that students can learn each concept quickly, without any particular concept being overwhelming in any way.
The teacher can also make use of Learning Management Systems (LMS) that helps them plan, create and put together all their lessons in an interactive learning system to help students understand their overall progress as they move along.
Break down the content into small parts
The teacher can easily understand if the students are following the slideshow by observing their expressions in a physical class. However, this is often difficult in online lessons, and the teacher can’t check each window to know if the students are following the class.
Hence, remote teaching is about keeping the lessons simple, short and straightforward.
Try to break up the lecture (1-hour or 40-mins) into small parts. Make sure to communicate the objective of each lecture in the beginning, and allow students to ask questions or queries at the end of each topic.
This is beneficial since students can ask a question right there and then instead of waiting till the end of the class.
Stick to bullets and important numbers for your slides
If you are unfamiliar with the basics of how to make a slideshow, there are a few simple rules:
- Do not read from the slide; instead only have basic information on the slide so that audience focuses on listening to you
- Keep information short and concise
- Use bullet points instead of sentences
- Stick to a maximum of 5-6 bullets per slide
- Add numbers, statistics, or related information to support your point
- Add images, graphics, or videos to your slide to enhance its visual appeal
- Focus on readability, use standard fonts, and maintain uniformity with font size and ratios (h1, h2, etc.)
While there are many more rules to create excellent slideshows to blend with your virtual lessons, these are a good starting point to help craft the perfect presentation.
Simplify information with examples
When it comes to complex concepts, it is ideal to include real-life examples or case studies. It enables the student to understand exactly how to implement the particular concept.
It could also be posed as a problem and how the concept being taught is useful to resolve it, giving students the chance to rattle their brains and come up with the answer.
Make remote teaching interactive
The attention span in an online class is not the same as in an in-person class.
While a classroom is designed to help students focus on lessons, there can be a world of distractions when it comes to an online class. Here, it is all about the teacher's ability to retain attention and keep the students hooked to ensure that they follow the entire topic being taught.
To make slideshows interactive, ask questions and allow students to share their queries. Moreover, teachers can even ask them to make notes of an important piece of information to enable them to follow what's being taught.
Include videos in your lessons and slideshows
Another method to make lessons interactive is by adding videos or charts in the slides.
The video can be third-party or self-created content that helps explain the topic with the inclusion of interactive elements.
The combination of videos along with the live presentation helps students to focus better while enabling you to break the lessons into parts and take a break yourself!
Include quizzes and interactive games
If Q&A sessions are not interactive, it is time to go beyond by adding some zest to your remote teaching.
After explaining a concept or topic, why not include interactive games and quizzes?
Having interactive quizzes and games helps students recall the learning and reinforces it. Plus, teachers can see if the students are paying attention in their online class, and if they’re wrong, guide them to understand the correct answer.
Provide references and additional reading materials
At the end of the online presentation, it is good to include references or essential reading materials for the student.
The teacher may also end each class by asking students to do some homework, providing a question or problem to solve, or having them read some research material to go in-depth on the topic that was taught.
The idea is to help students keep learning even when the lessons are over and ensure that they go beyond the teachings that a 30-min or 1-hour lesson can cover. Teaching time may be limited, but learning is always limitless.
Be it remote teaching and learning or in-person, the basics do not change much.
While these 8 best tips for online teaching can help you craft and ace the remote classroom, the key to success is your ability to simplify complex concepts to help students relate and grasp them better.
Technology has made it possible for teachers to share their knowledge with students across the globe, but technology is merely an enabler in this regard. Teachers should use this platform to their advantage and craft content that is apt for their students.