Online Learning: Making It Effective

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Most students, parents, and teachers were suddenly asked to adapt to online learning during the pandemic, and since this change was sudden and forced, much of the online teaching was not very effective. Teachers and students were saddled with tools that they were not familiar with. Parents had to share their devices with their kids. But online learning has been around for over a decade – and has proven to be an excellent platform for learning.

MOOC platforms are growing by the day – Coursera, Skillshare, Udemy, Khan Academy, and Duolingo are all useful for filling gaps in regular classes and providing an alternative from in-person courses have of late become prohibitively expensive for most people. Add to it the advantage of learning at your own pace and not wasting time during the commute. If done well, online learning can be truly liberating.
However, the very advantage of going at your own pace can become a bane for people prone to procrastination. The first thing to keep in mind when opting for online courses is to make your own structure. Set daily goals (for example, I will practice Spanish online for twenty minutes every weekday) and, if possible, set up a study space.

Since many learners use their smartphones for such classes, it may be helpful to mute all notifications for the duration of your class to avoid distractions. It might also be helpful to assign a designated time for your lessons (for example, I will watch course videos every Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 am-11:00 am). This is great for night owls since this type of studying does not force them to be productive in the morning- they can choose whatever time they see fit. Most such courses have online forums. Ask your queries and be interactive – it boosts learning.

One of the significant challenges while learning online is to keep yourself accountable. It helps to engage with a community or do a course with some friends where everyone can discuss their progress. Encouraging peer evaluation is excellent for instructors and the absence of face-to-face presence of their students. They can look at peer-to-peer evaluations to gauge their students. Such peer evaluation forums should be monitored with strict rules in place – cyberbullying or harassment should be banned on no uncertain terms.
While online classes can lack some of the social elements of classroom learning, they can still be useful and fun. Their online nature implies that you can learn from people around the globe and that you can manage your workflow. It can be an opportunity to learn career-expanding skills for a fraction of the cost of in-person school. Please encourage your child to govern themselves and give them the right tools to make it effective.

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