E-learning, for some, can be boring if they just stick to the “rules”. You know like, not expanding the already-existing e-learning concepts and techniques instructors and educators already know. It can be boring if educators just, for example, don’t maximize the features of the LMS they’re using such as integration to cloud storage services, or use collaboration tools to increase engagement from students. It’s not just myopic – it also defeats the purpose of the many digital resources available as expansive and productive tools for both students and educators.
There are of some things that everyone needs to know, teachers especially, in order to upgrade your e-learning:
Mobilize your learning
It would be an understatement to say that mobile devices are everywhere. They’re virtually ubiquitous. Smartphones and tablets in classrooms can be used to enhance collaboration between students. How? There are lots of collaboration apps available on major app stores and existing mobile devices can start replacing cumbersome and often heavy resources such as textbooks and visual aids. Mobile devices also have WiFi which makes for an on-demand access to school resources. Very easy.
Tap into the power of cloud productivity tools
Good examples would be Google Drive, Office 365 and Dropbox. Such tools do not replace the in-productivity features of LMSs such as built-in file storage or text editors, but rather augment them. Google Drive is integrated with most LMSs such as NEO, while Office 365 is basically a cloud-based version of the ever-familiar and user-friendly Microsoft Office. They not only serve as mere productivity tools, but they can also serve as another way of working and collaborating with peers because Google Docs and Office Online, in particular, allows for simultaneous and collaborative editing of a particular document so students can work on research papers and theses without being physically together.
Bring your own device
The proliferation of the new generation of devices like 2-in-1 laptops, convertibles, and the like ushered in a new kind of thing called BYOD. Yeah, I’m all over this BYOD thing, especially for schools, because the mere fact that almost everyone owns a device and has access to internet already suffices for school BYOD. And it’s not just students who can BYOD, but teachers as well. BYOD encourages further student participation in classrooms because they feel very comfortable using their very own device that has all their stuff and files in it. The usual practice is that teachers used to send students to detention for bringing a device to school, but now students will serve detention for NOT bringing his/her own device.
No, not just the simple badges or certification system. Up the ante by incorporating video game elements to the learning process like this: (1) every student will initially start at Level 1,
with the teacher serving as the game director; (2) experience points can be accumulated through regular class participation, answering assessments, etc.; (3) experience decay/loss of points for students that don’t participate, or those who cheat; (4) major exams are “boss levels” and experience points are gained based on exam rating; (5) students can “fight” against each other, as well as form squads, and; (6) they can use power-ups and bonus items to augment their skills and such items are equivalent to real-life skills and strengths. That alone can further enhance the learning experience both for instructors and students.
The general e-learning practice is that teachers would usually upload loads of assessments into LMSs and expect their students to take these assessments at home. Or, teachers would upload instructional content such as presentation decks and other learning materials to the LMS and expect students to read them. That’s too boring. What teachers could do is to create webcasts similar to those found on Khan Academy, share them in class and from there on students can share insights, or even create webcasts of their own. Webcasts are live and interactive and allow free-flowing information between the presenter and the audience.
Encourage experiential learning
Schools traditionally practice didactic or rote methods of teaching where students would memorize and recall learning materials through repetitive practice and application. Rote learning does not promote critical thinking because students learn by memorization rather than by analysis. Whereas experiential learning, although considered ancient, is effective as students learn through initiating themselves to reflect on what they do. Learners are willing to be actively involved in the learning experience, and they can reflect on their learning experience. Experiential learning also enhances a learner’s critical thinking and analytical skills because they learn through experience.
And just like that, there are many other ways to advance e-learning. It isn’t about listing specific techniques, or reading guides authored by e-learning gurus all over. Educators and students alike have to be innovative and agile in crafting ways to enhance their learning experience.
That being said, if you think you want to add some more techniques, suggest topics, comment, ask a question, or simply give feedback, the comment section below is open to take them.
Author: Enzo Froilan
Enzo is a marketing consultant by profession and a passionate e-learning blogger. He’s also a Microsoft Education Ambassador and an advocate for education, so his articles discuss e-learning not just from the insights of a student but also a from a teacher’s perspective, by leveraging his experience to deliver helpful posts.