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Making the most out of Distance Learning
Distance Learning was rising in popularity even before the pandemic, but COVID-19 definitely sped up the process of making it more widespread. The World Economic Forum reports that the market for online education is projected to be worth $350 billion by 2025. This market covers language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing for education, and several other formats of online learning. And the usage of all of these technologies soared in the last year.
It’s not without its challenges, of course, as Distance Learning poses concerns over the lack of interactivity and social aspect that would otherwise be available in school-based education. But as we’re easing into distance learning as part of the norm, we’re discovering ways to make the most out of the arrangement.
Make it interactive
The learning process should be interactive, which means that the student gets regular feedback from the instructor. This is true for all students across the board, from kindergartners and even to older students in Aspiration Training’s apprenticeships.
To make distance learning more interactive, students could be grouped together to complete projects. Teachers could even create smaller Zoom rooms and online forums where they can interact with each other more freely. When it comes to major projects and papers, teachers must make time to do one-on-one conversations with students where the comments can be discussed in-depth. This also opens up opportunities for students to raise whatever concerns directly with their teachers. This way, interactivity and social interaction are incorporated into the content and curriculum.
Cultivate a habit of focus
Education consultant Lisa Walton emphasises the importance of establishing good routines as the foundation for productivity. It helps save time and promote focus in students. When we talk about habit, this involves creating a routine that would stand as a ‘start of lesson ritual,’ which would eliminate distractions and have the student mentally and physically be ready for learning.
For this, you’ll need a dedicated space that makes these things easier to do, where there are tools and a stable internet connection that ensure proper body mechanics and comfort. In fact, Pain Free Working’s guide to ergonomic accessories details how these tools can help achieve better focus and avoid fatigue. This is an advantage for both teachers and students, as they can direct their attention and energy better towards the learning session. A dedicated time, routine, and space aids in getting you to the right headspace in which you’re conditioned to focus on the lessons.
Space out learning sessions
Information overload can be a real issue, and it’s easy for this to happen without the tight time constraints of in-person learning. Several studies point to the drop in student engagement after 15 to 20 minutes of lectures. For videos and other learning media, engagement is drastically lessened by the 12-minute mark.
In Forbes’ list of remote learning tips, they recommend segmenting 45- or 60-minute online sessions into shorter ones. Breaking up information into digestible chunks—and then repeating them in refresher sessions later on—boosts learning and improves retention.
Distance learning is very likely here to stay even after the pandemic. There’s a need to brush up on study habits and acquire new ones geared specifically towards online learning.
Written by: Stacy Peterson