The necessary but abrupt shift from in-person learning to virtual classrooms has created confusion for teachers and students alike. That confusion, maintains University of Phoenix educator and seasoned elementary school teacher Marguerite Dominguez, is the enemy of learning. Fortunately, she says, there are several easy things that teachers can do to combat confusion.
Tips for Optimizing Online Learning
1. Keep all questions in one place. Asking questions is an essential part of learning. However, teachers can struggle to keep track of questions if they do not have a set place to field the questions. Student questions can come from anywhere: text message, online learning applications, emails or phone calls. This causes chaos for the teacher and leads to missed questions with students missing answers to all questions. Avoid this confusion by designating a set forum for questions.
2. Create a set Q&A period. Dominguez suggests taking the Q&A scenario a step further by setting a particular time each school day when the teacher is available on the designated forum for questions. This gives students the security of knowing that their questions will be answered promptly and without stress.
3. Give detailed instructions for work assignments. Another action Dominguez suggests for creating a more solid online learning environment is to give extra details about work assignments, more than you would usually give for an in-person assignment. This helps eliminate the confusion and frustration of starting to work on an assignment at home and not being able to understand what is expected. Dominguez also suggests dividing longer assignments into three or four smaller segments.
4. Use italics, bolding and numbers liberally. All of these elements make instructions easier to comprehend.
5. Double or triple the use of positive statements. Not seeing a student’s or a teacher’s body language can lead to misunderstandings and stress. A teacher cannot quickly detect that a student is struggling through visual cues, and a student will not easily know if a teacher is pleased or displeased with their work. Dominquez recommends countering this with plentiful positive statements and verbal communication. Pointing out the value of questions and classwork can go a long way toward creating a welcoming learning environment.
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