Using Social Media to Support Online Teaching

Even if you haven’t been a social media maven in the past, the recent shift to online learning is pushing all of us to use social media to its fullest.  Social media can be a great resource to turn to to gather information and inspiration about online education. Here are some tips to help you use social media to support your online teaching!

Facebook groups are a great way to connect with educators and see how others have made the shift to online learning. Meeting other instructors who are enthusiastic about your subject matter can help you transition more seamlessly to online learning and see your course topic in a whole new light!  Some of these groups have covered topics as diverse as teaching studio art online, teaching theater online, and more. No matter your subject matter, you can find other educators sharing ideas on creatively switching their classes to brand new formats.

Are you tweeting yet?! If so, Twitter can be another great place to gather ideas from other educators and connect with instructors just as passionate about online learning as you are. Searching for popular online education hashtags such as #EdTech and #OnlineLearning is a useful way to find new educational technology suggestions and online learning ideas.

Lastly, you can connect to a vast repository of resources through the POD Network’s Google Group – a forum that instructional designers and online instructors use to discuss and share resources on a large variety of online learning topics. The POD Network is a great place to ask questions and collaborate with instructors who are curious about the same topics that you are!

Online Learning isn’t a challenge, it’s an opportunity! An opportunity to get innovative about your class, engage your students in new and creative ways, and forge connections with like-minded instructors across the world. Online learning reminds us that one of the most powerful aspects of online education, and the internet as a whole, is its ability to connect us – and your class can be a force in accomplishing this!

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

10 Advantages of Online Classes

The following is a guest post by Jaclyn Gulinello, an instructional design intern at Touro College. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

According to the OEDb (open education database), there are 10 advantages to taking online classes. As an instructional designer I could probably argue that there are more, but let’s start with 10 for now. Here is a list of the 10 advantages to taking an online class.

1.Variety of programs and courses:

Almost every college offers a variety of online courses for varying degrees. From career certificate programs, to doctoral programs, and everything in between. Higher education today offers more options to students than ever before.

2.Lower total costs:

In some cases, online programs can prove to be a more affordable option. Although tuition expenses may not always be lower, the other expenses associated with higher education might be. For instance, there are no commuting costs, and very often instructors might offer online text or learning materials so that students do not have to purchase textbooks.

3.More comfortable learning environment:

Have you ever seen images of students in an online class while in their pajamas? Well that’s often a highlight of learning online. As, someone who has taken online classes, I much prefer to take a 3-hour course from the comfort of my own couch rather than a hard, uncomfortable chair in a classroom. It’s also more comfortable when I can take a needed bathroom break, get up to stretch my legs, or even grab something to eat, whereas in a classroom environment, that may not be possible. The best part about it is that after a long day, and a long class, there’s not much of a commute from the couch to the bed.

4.Convenience and flexibility:

Most higher education students are juggling a work/life balance in addition to their academic responsibilities. The appeal of online learning for some is the fact that they have the flexibility to learn on their own time. For many online learners, earning a degree would not be possible if they did not have the option of online education. Most online learners appreciate the fact that they can log on after they put the kids to bed, or on weekends, or on the commute home. For many, flexibility is key.

5.More interaction and greater ability to concentrate:

While many might argue that online learning does not provide enough opportunity for student interaction, online learning actually invites in a variety of collaborative social opportunities. From my own personal experience, I’ve had more meaningful interaction through my online learning experience than I ever did in face to face classroom settings. I knew all of my classmates by name, we talked on several occasions, and provided support to one another when it was needed. Online learning provides a community atmosphere that adds a key social element into the learning experience.

6.Career advancement:

Online courses are accessible to anyone, especially those who are looking to switch careers, get a degree to advance their career, or to increase salary. Students can take courses while working, in-between jobs, and even while raising their families. Earning a degree while juggling other responsibilities can show prospective employers ambitiousness and the desire for continued professional development.

7.Continue in your profession

The advantage of taking online classes while you are working is that you do not have to choose between leaving your job and taking classes. You can continue to work your normal hours while simultaneously furthering your education. Many companies also offer education incentives, and some companies will even pay tuition costs.

8.Avoid commuting

Whether you live in a big city or a rural suburb, commuting can not only be frustrating, but costly. Many online students report saving money on gas, tolls, or public transportation when taking classes online. They also appreciate the time it saves them. As someone who has had to commute to class, it often took two hours out of my day in commuting as well as up to $30 per week in commuting costs.

9.Improve your technical skills

Even a basic online course requires the development of new computer skills. Taking online classes exposes the student to learning how to use different LMSs (learning management systems) to incorporate audio/video into assignments, sharing documents, and even to take some online training workshops.

10.The ability to attend class no matter the circumstances

This by far was one of the biggest appeals to online learning for me. If I wasn’t feeling well, I wasn’t forced to miss class and fall behind on assignments. I was still able to attend class from my bed and to stay on top of my work. In addition, this can be helpful for parents with sick children. If they are forced to stay home and take care of their sick children, they can still log on to class, and do not have to deal with the added stress of falling behind on their coursework.

If I were going to add an eleventh advantage, I would add one on behalf of the instructors teaching these online courses. While every single one of these advantages does also apply to the instructor, the most important advantage for instructors, in my opinion, is that teaching online classes forces the instructor to get creative with their instruction. An online course is most successful when instructors think outside the box when creating online assignments. This can be incredibly rewarding and fun for an instructor as well as the student. Both parties need to have the right attitude when going into online learning. In my experience, my passion for learning and my excitement for expanding my technology skills fueled my success in online education. As an instructor, or a student, your passion for education must be greater than your fears of technology. Whether you are a novice computer user or advanced, online learning is universal, and can be extremely advantageous to those who are willing to learn.

Author’s Bio: Jaclyn Gulinello is currently attending the graduate school of technology at Touro College, and is pursuing a degree in Educational Technology. While Jaclyn is currently on the corporate track, she also has a background in education and obtained a B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a minor in speech communications. Jaclyn would like to apply her knowledge of teaching methods, creativity skills and her interest in emerging technologies to eventually become an instructional designer. She is currently working on various projects as an Instructional Design Intern at Touro College, and will go on to become an ID upon her graduation in June 2020 from the Touro Graduate School of Technology.

5 Tips for Delivering Assessments During Covid-19

The following is a guest post by Jaclyn Gulinello, an instructional design intern at Touro College. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

While assessments are an essential component of education – they’re not one size fits all! It’s important to deliver online exams that best suit the type of learning that took place for your students. In the online space, you have a wide variety of assessment techniques available. This assortment can enable you as an instructor to deliver the most efficient and effective exams to assess your students’ progress.  Here are 5 tips for delivering assessments in an online environment.

1.Prioritize Informal Assessments

Informal assessments are often used in the traditional classroom by a simple means of asking questions to students. With distance learning, informal assessments can occur just as simply in the form of online discussions boards, quizzes, essays, and asking questions through synchronous Zoom meetings. You can use many online learning tools for informal assessments that engage your students and check for understanding.

2. Use Turnitin for Written Assignments and Essays

Written assignments such as essays and research papers are a great method of determining student comprehension.  Turnitin is a plagiarism detection software system that helps to maintain academic integrity standards, so that you can ensure there is no misuse of information or plagiarism. Simply have your students submit their papers through the system, to take the guess work out of plagiarism!

3. Use Respondus Products for High Stakes Assessments

While it is recommended that high stakes tests are not administered at this time, we do understand that a midterm or a final exam will still need to be delivered. Respondus Lockdown Browser® is a customized browser that increases the security of test delivery while students access an exam. It prevents their ability to print, copy, go out on the web, or access other applications. Respondus Monitor enables use of a webcam and flags suspicious activity while a student is taking an exam.  When using these tools, it is important to administer a practice test using the browser before the actual exam. There are other products on the market that may also assist with test security.

4. Be Mindful of Timed Exams

Often times, faculty may end up providing students with timed exam to deter cheating. However, timed exams can potentially create unnecessary stress for students as their focus may be on speed rather than knowledge. Should you need to deliver a timed exam, it is best to consider providing students with the same time allotment as you would in your traditional classroom space.

5. Check in Frequently With Your Students

With all of us going through a tough time at the moment, it’s important for instructors to remain informed on students current situations as certain situation will directly impact their academic standing.  Student value the opportunity to interact and hear from you. Let your students know that they are not alone by sending an announcement, or email to check-in.

This transition to online learning has forced many of us to think differently about the way we teach. While we are all doing our best to adapt accordingly, it is important to keep in mind that many of us are stressed and/or facing difficult situations. Doing you best to keep students on track, while empathizing with the current state of the things will improve communication and sense of community among you and your students. 

Author’s Bio: Jaclyn Gulinello is currently attending the graduate school of technology at Touro College, and is pursuing a degree in Educational Technology. While Jaclyn is currently on the corporate track, she also has a background in education and obtained a B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a minor in speech communications. Jaclyn would like to apply her knowledge of teaching methods, creativity skills and her interest in emerging technologies to eventually become an instructional designer. She is currently working on various projects as an Instructional Design Intern at Touro College, and will go on to become an ID upon her graduation in June 2020 from the Touro Graduate School of Technology.

Lecture Breakers Podcast: 5 Ways to Help Students Succeed in Online Courses

In this episode of Lecture Breakers, a podcast devoted to helping educators teach in more engaging ways, Holly Owens (Assistant Director of Online Education at Touro College) shares 5 ways to help students succeed in online courses. Holly discusses course design strategies to increase student engagement and ways to leverage technology tools to improve learning.

Check out more episodes at the Lecture Breakers website!

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

5 Ways Online Learning Can Benefit Special Needs Learners

The following is a guest post by Gabe Nelson, a home tutor who specializes in working with diverse learners. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Often times when considering how to best help students with learning differences, people turn to extra one-on-one help like with home tutoring. And while that can certainly be beneficial at times it can be only too easy to overlook resources they have right in their own home with internet access. 

Being able to learn online, either as a supplement for the classroom or as the primary educational resource can be especially beneficial to students who would like to pursue a higher education degree but still require individualized support. 

With “special needs” being an all-encompassing term that includes those with physical disabilities, are neurodiverse as well as those with suspected or diagnosed learning disabilities. It may seem like online learning and home tutoring may be better suited for one type of need over another when the truth is, online learning and home tutoring can offer a great support for anyone. 

If you still find yourself unsure as to the many benefits that online learning can have for special needs learners here are five great advantages to this underutilized educational option. 

Flexibility

There really isn’t a typical day for students who are diagnosed with ADHD, sensory processing disorders or other learning differences, and therefore the flexibility that comes from the ability to learn online can be a real lifesaver for those who want to get a great education but struggle with finding the balance in a typical educational setting. 

The true flexibility of online learning is that the work will be there for students when it works into their schedule and day. For those who may attend therapy centers and have frequent doctor’s appointments, the flexible atmosphere of online learning can help them avoid having to miss out on days on school and potential truancy issues that may result. 

Students with ADHD and other conditions can struggle with the ability to focus for extended periods of time, but when they are enrolled in a virtual classroom, they have the opportunity to move around when needed as well as being able to complete their work in a familiar setting that can cause fewer distractions for their brains to process through.  

For students who have struggled to find the balance between having their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 Education Plans recognized and followed in high school, choosing an online learning path is a no brainer since the control is in the hands of each individual. Certain requests, such as untimed tests may still need to be accommodated, but online learning is better equipped to be flexible. 

No Travel Needed

Because online learning can occur from home, health compromised individuals can learn from a safe space without running the risk of being exposed to germs that could seriously harm them. It is also possible that if a student needed to be hospitalized for an extended period of time, they could complete the work so long as they had internet access. 

In a regular educational setting, a student may fall behind when they are unable to travel but with online learning, they can feel like they are part of a community and have the chance to form connections with others even when their physical limitations restrict how many people they can be around. 

Being able to learn from anywhere is a huge benefit that online learning brings to the community at large, and while it is often thought of for those who travel frequently it should not be overlooked for members of the community who for one reason or another are unable to make it into a classroom setting. 

Pacing Themselves

Simply because a student has special needs does not necessarily mean they aren’t academically advanced. It can be hard for these students to articulate their want to be challenged especially when paired with teachers who can’t overlook any secondary behavior issues or needs to recognize their intellect. 

Online learning offers the extremely beneficial option of being able to set their own pace. Whether they are highly motivated and would like to work ahead, or need the time and space to go a little slower than a typical classroom setting would allow, working online can give these students the chance to work at their own pace without a classroom 

Materials Tailored to Students

The right learning option can be tailored to suit whatever a student needs.  For instance, getting text-to-speech resources in a traditional classroom setting may be complicated but with assignments and texts available for online resources they may already be optimized to run through a specific program a student may prefer. 

It can be frustrating for students to feel as though they aren’t progressing the way they expect to, but online learning makes it easy for a student to reach out and ask for one-on-one coaching or instruction while saving them the embarrassment of standing out in front of a group. There is no reason a student needs to stand out as different when they are learning online. 

When the material is online as a video this also makes it possible for students to watch it many times until they can completely comprehend the subject matter, this wouldn’t be possible in other situations making the online classroom setup an excellent 

Appropriate Social Skills

While you may not immediately think of social skills being a benefit of online learning, certainly through group chats, video conferences and message boards students can build positive social interactions without some of the anxiety that in-person communication can bring to a situation. 

Knowing how to communicate appropriately online is going to be an excellent skill to have especially with the progress of communication online. With more people forming communities online, having multiple forums to participate in is only going to enhance their social skills further and help the students learn how to interact online safely. 

Group projects are a great way for students to engage and work together, building their problem-solving skills and helping them learn how to work as a team, all skills that may be more difficult or produce anxiety symptoms during an in-person class. Through the safety of their computers, they can learn these valuable skills in a way previously avoided for some students.

Conclusion 

When looking for a higher education course for students with special needs it is a wonderful idea to consider looking for online classes. Not only will it give students the potential and freedom to function without being limited by their extra requirements but it allows them to blend in with the rest of the students which may be a real relief for some. 

With so many benefits to learning online extending to everyone and not just those who have different learning needs, it isn’t any surprise that educational options have extended to online course work at a higher educational level. If you may need special accommodations on some level for your coursework, online learning is an option worth considering.  

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Gamification and Game-Based Learning

The following is a guest post by Mary Colbert, a content creator specializing in education. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

When discussing gamification and game-based learning there is often some confusion as to how they differ. Many people use the terms interchangeably but they are not the same. However they are often linked together so it isn’t always easy to separate them.

What is Game-Based Learning?

Game-Based Learning or GBL is using a game as part of the learning process. Some examples of GBL could be using monopoly to teach the basics of money management or playing scrabble to help improve vocabulary skills. However, today when people talk about game-based learning they are usually referring to digital game-based learning. Game-based learning teaches through repetition, failure and the accomplishment of goals which is basically the way players become good at video games.

What is Gamification?

In education gamification is the introduction of game-like elements into the learning environment to help motivate students and make the process more engaging. This is accomplished by taking some of the elements that make games fun and that motivate people to keep playing and using those elements in a learning situation. Some examples of gamification include:

  • Points/Badges : The use of points and badges provides tangible evidence of accomplishment
  • Immediate Feedback: Fast response to actions that are taken rather than waiting for a paper to be graded.
  • Levels/Quests: Provide missions and goals to be accomplished
  • Leveling Up: Indication of achievement and opening up of new missions, badges and activities
  • Collaboration/Teamwork: Accomplish a goal working with others

Although gamification involves using elements from games it doesn’t necessarily include playing games.

Benefits of Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning and gamification have been around for a number of years at the elementary and high school level. More recently it has been making its way into higher education as it offers a number of benefits to students:

  • Increased engagement: One of the most touted benefits of gamification is that it increases student engagement. Studies have shown that adding game-like features in non-game context increases student engagement. Increasing engagement also leads to greater retention as students relate better to material through practice rather than just reading or listening to a lecture.
  • Instant feedback: Receiving feedback immediately through dashboards and leaderboards tends to motivate students. They can view how they perform relative to their peers, which will often motivate them to retry tests and activities to achieve a better ranking. It also provides motivation to move ahead to further lessons.
  • Collaboration/Social Connection: For some students it isn’t easy to create connections with others in their class. Gamifying classes helps promote social interaction and encourages students to work together. Team competition is an excellent way to promote student collaboration.
  • Increase enthusiasm: For some students just learning is enough to generate enthusiasm but for many that is not the case. Gamification helps to generate more enthusiasm in students through badges and other types of rewards. It makes the learning process more fun for them.

Disadvantages of Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Gamification isn’t the perfect solution to every learning situation and there are some disadvantages.

  • Shortened attention spans: In some students the fast pace and immediate feedback can shorten attention span. It can also lead to discouragement with other parts of the student’s education that don’t provide that pace and feedback.
  • All about the competition: Students can become enamored with the competitive aspects of gamification and GBL and it becomes more about winning than learning.
  • Some students won’t be motivated: There will be some students that simply aren’t motivated by the gamification of learning. They may have some misconceptions about the process that prevent them from responding well to GBL. Other students may dislike the competitive nature of some aspects of gamification.

The gamification of a class or course doesn’t ensure it will be successful. How gamification is introduced will determine the type of impact that it has.

Gamified Education Online

Gamified education courses have already been introduced with great success online. Gamification and game-based learning work especially well with online education. The following are some examples of popular eLearning sites that use gamification successfully:

  • Duolingo: Duolingo is a language learning website with over 300 million users. They teach 22 different languages and use gamification in every lesson to make learning a new language fun.
  • Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a well known educational website for match, science and other subjects that use gamification to encourage and motivate students. Each answer is immediately scored and points are given if correct. Badges are also awarded
  • TedEd: TedEd provides all types of videos that are both entertaining and educational. They also have a web app that allows users to make their own video lessons that are actionable.

There are all kinds of game-based learning tools and gamification platforms available to educators now. Without a doubt this seems to be the wave of the future in education.

 Author’s Bio: Mary Colbert is a huge fan of gaming in general. Not only is she fond of gaming as a form of entertainment, she is a firm believer in the educational benefits of playing games.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

5 Things to Consider Before Taking an Online Course

The following is a guest post by Emma Megan, a content creator specializing in education. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Introduction:

Technology has changed every aspect of our lives, and education is no exception. We’ve gone from learning through direct contact to acquiring knowledge from behind a laptop screen.

Online courses have revolutionized the convenience and affordability of education. Anyone who has limited finances and time can sign up for any online course that they’re interested in, but they should be sure to carefully consider the following things:

1. You will probably NEVER meet your professor

Online courses are designed to keep things simple and comfortable both for the students enrolled and the professors teaching the classes. Professors who teach online courses, record their lectures beforehand, and those lectures can be used to illustrate the same sequence for several years to come.

Just as a student takes online classes because of the lack of time and money, the professors have pretty much the same reasons to teach an online course. They don’t want additional pressure and stress from their side jobs; hence, you will hardly ever meet your professor.

If you are always seeking guidance and assurance, then you might not find it while taking online classes. Online courses are for people who are self-sufficient and independent, as well as for those who can comprehend instructions easily.

2. All online classes are not equal

Recently, online courses have experienced a growth spurt in their numbers. Now you can get a high school diploma online as well as a master’s degree without stepping a foot out of your house. All these courses offer something diverse, and they function differently from one another.

For instance, some online courses will require you to read and review chapters daily, while others will ask you to submit a written report every other day at 9 PM sharp. Not only the nature of work and assignments, but the duration and tuition fees differ as well. 

It is essential to weigh down all your options before deciding, to avoid complications in the future. You should also consider the possibility of transferring your online course from one university to another. Think of an alternative before even signing up for an online course as it can save you from plenty of trouble and stress in the future. 

3. You can interact with your fellow students

You might be under the impression that taking online courses mean that you won’t have to deal with a peer group, but online courses actually offer several ways to collaborate with fellow students. Most online courses offered by conventional colleges and universities have online chat rooms. These chatrooms and online communities provide several opportunities for people enrolled in the same online course to interact and help each other out. Discussion boards are another key means of interaction.

Even without an online community and chatroom, one can always try to contact their classmates directly. Almost all online courses show profiles of students enrolled in their curriculum to other students for this purpose. 

4. You need to be technologically advanced

Online courses are essential for our fast-paced world, which means they are in sync with technology. One should never sign up for an online course if they are not well-versed in technology or do not have adequate equipment.

A working laptop and a fast wi-fi network are essentials to have before signing up for any online course. The people managing your class won’t care if you are laptop broke down or your wi-fi didn’t work. They will want you to submit all your assignments and tasks at the assigned time, or else your grade will be affected. 

Believe it or not, accredited online courses have a way to weed out dishonest and students that are slacking. If you think that cheating in exams or delaying your assignments is a possibility, then you are in for a surprise. 

These courses have systems in place that enable them to maintain the integrity and credibility of their programs.

5. An online course is not for procrastinator

Online courses are not everyone’s cup of tea and are not the ideal model of education for procrastinators. One must have impeccable time management skills and restraint to complete these courses.

You might want to sign up for an online class because you want to be your boss, but that perk isn’t good enough if you can’t keep up with the obligations that come with it. There won’t be any professor and friend to remind you to finish your assignments or to prepare for a test before the deadline. You will be on your own and carelessness, and irresponsible behavior can cost you a lot.

Bottom Line:

Online courses have their pros and cons, and their efficiency and success vary from person to person. Thorough research and knowledge of the intended online course can help you reach a decision that will work best for you!

Author’s Bio: Emma Megan is a content creator who enjoys writing about education and technology.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Benefits of Using Infographics for e-Learning

The following is a guest post by Ashley Halsey, a content creator specializing in education. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Modern learning has presented a wide range of new tools and techniques for educators to help foster knowledge and appreciation of knowledge in students of all types and of all ages. The opportunities that have been presented are varying and have a range of different effects on students, but they mostly work by helping teachers present and relay information more cleanly and effectively than ever before. eLearning as a field is part of this revolution, where major learning can now be done purely through the internet, without a teacher and student ever needing to actually come face to face. Within eLearning, as an internet-based experience, you have to be very innovative with how you communicate ideas. The ‘infographic’ is just one of many tools that you can use, so let’s take a look at what you can do with it.

A Process of Simplification

Using language to describe certain types of statistical problems or data sets can be difficult and can have remarkably poor results. If I tell you there are four piles, one with 6 beans, one with 2 beans, one with 18 beans and one with 9 beans, that can be quite a difficult image to hold in your head while calculating an answer. But, if they’re already depicted, you cut a step out and everything becomes much simpler to grasp. The process of removing that step from the intended receiver of the information, is a process of simplification which can be a really powerful tool for relaying information efficiently. The visual aspect cleans the whole operation up.

Source- https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1._Infographic_%E2%80%93_We_live_in_a_nano_world.jpg, attribution – InsightPublishers [CC BY-SA 4.0

To Help With Memorization

It’s often the case that an eLearning course will culminate in some sort of an exam or test that is in place to establish the success of the teaching and of the student’s knowledge and attention to the course. Likely, the student will be required to recall elements to the course from memory. The visualization of information through infographics is an immensely successful tool for aiding retention. Recalling images of text is almost always harder than recalling visualizations of information. Online teachers want you to remember what you’re being taught, thus making infographics an excellent option for you as you continue to find ways to aid success in eLearning.

Higher Engagement

Just like when you are designing a website of some sort, a wall of text will always make things a lot less appealing for the user. Text is boring and not unique. It can be beautifully written prose, but the medium of choice is so standard that it’s not going to leave an impression on anyone or draw the eye particularly. Infographics can look however you want, which can really draw the eye in. Representation of information through infographics is an excellent way to increase student engagement.

Source – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Secondary_Sources.png, attribution – Shonnmharen [CC BY 4.0

Space Saver

Organization and workflow are key in eLearning. It’s not as simple as being in a classroom where you can always ask your teacher for direct guidance through the material, you have to be able to find your path through the learning effectively on your own. Clutter is a critical issue for eLearning material, since that sort of course based disorganization and confusion can create the same detrimental effects in the mind of the student as they try and progress. As the old saying goes, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. This is very true and very relevant with eLearning. You can save space and be wonderfully succinct through use of infographics in a way which helps aid the work flow of your students.

Conclusion

There really are no downsides to the use of infographics for eLearning. They help in almost every way that you could hope they would help. Infographics are an important and effective way to aid in online learning.

Author’s Bio: Ashley Halsey is a professional writer writing on all sorts of topics relating to the modernization of education and the future of EdTech. She has written for Last Minute Writing and Research Papers UK.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

The Powerful Impact of Virtual Classroom Software

The following is a guest post by Kamy Anderson, an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Information technology has revolutionized the learning environment. With the use of virtual classroom software or LMS software, education and training has become easier to use and more accessible.

Virtual classroom software is being incorporated into various organizations and learning institutions, and the worldwide e-learning market is expected to grow to $325 billion by 2025.

This is a trend that comes without an expiration date. Virtual classrooms have a lot to offer, and they’re reshaping the way we approach teaching and learning.

But what exactly is a virtual classroom? What are its benefits? Let’s find out.

What Is a Virtual Classroom?

In simple terms, a virtual classroom is an online learning environment. Through the use of specialized software, such as virtual classroom software or LMS software, teachers and learners can communicate, share ideas, collaborate, and more without ever being in the same room.

Of course, it’s necessary for both the learners and the educators to have a stable internet connection, and the virtual classroom software handles everything else.

This software provides:

  • Video conferencing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Online whiteboard
  • Learning materials
  • Live chat
  • Teaching tools and controls

With the use of virtual classroom software, the online learning environment is made to be very similar to the physical classrooms that we’re all accustomed to already.

The Many Benefits of Using Virtual Classroom Software

Seeing how virtual classrooms tend to mirror the physical classrooms that you can find in schools or even some companies, it’s easy to imagine that the two are not so different.

Instructors and learners can still interact. They can use various learning materials, take advantage of the whiteboard, and more.

Having said that, even the simplest virtual classroom software has more to offer, and teachers and learners can achieve much more than they ever could in a traditional classroom.

Virtual classroom software and LMS software facilitate:

  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Improved learning processes
  • Better accessibility
  • Better scalability
  • Affordability
  • Effectiveness

Let’s take a closer look.

Enhanced Collaboration

If two schools or companies wanted to collaborate, they would traditionally have to spend a lot of time on logistics.

Which teachers and staff will be sent to which school? How will they get there? When is the best time for both parties to organize the visit?

Collaboration required a lot of time and effort, not to mention a lot of money.

With the use of virtual classroom software, educators and staff can now easily collaborate wherever they are located.

One of the main features of virtual classroom software is video conferencing, which enables uninterrupted communication and interaction between instructors and learners.

Improved Learning Processes

Without the use of LMS software, corporate trainers, teachers, and online instructors have access to limited resources to enhance the learning experience of their learners.

Many schools in rural areas, for example, don’t have adequate infrastructure to provide quality education.

New technology is here to change this! Virtual classroom software empowers learners to travel around the world without ever leaving their actual classroom.

They can communicate with experts from various fields in real-time and learn from them. They can participate in seminars and classes happening on the other side of the world.

This all allows them to learn and retain more information than they normally could in a traditional classroom.

Virtual classroom software also offers room for personalization. The teaching materials can be customized to suit the learning needs of different learners.

Fast learners can easily skip ahead, while those who are falling behind can go through the materials as many times as they need and learn at their own convenient pace.

Accessibility

Any learner who has an internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smartphone can access the virtual classroom. 67% of U.S. companies, for example, offer learning opportunities via smartphones.

This means that any learner who isn’t able to go to classes can still learn. Those living in rural areas, or those who are bed-ridden and unable to leave their homes can still receive a high-quality education.

No matter where the learners and instructors are located, they can communicate and learn when they choose to do so. This enables you to create a global classroom where all learners enjoy equal opportunities for learning.

Scalability

LMS software enables you to customize every aspect of learning and teaching. Depending on the size of your classroom and the skill level of your learners, you can easily scale your teaching offerings up or down.

This is especially useful to companies as the employees can focus on improving the right skills at the right time, allowing learning to become more flexible. For example, any business or educational institution will keep adding human resources or learners to it. In a regular classroom model, it can create infrastructural issues or a company will have to expand the training material to accommodate the new requirements while managing the learners and meeting compliances can become tough.

Now contrast this with a scenario where a virtual classroom software provides almost endless possibilities of learning anytime, anywhere. Teachers can take on larger groups of students and businesses can easily track the training process of bigger teams with diverse skill sets.

An LMS which is designed to be scalable enough to grow as per the increasing needs can provide the right environment while cutting down the infrastructural and manpower costs that are otherwise associated with traditional modes of learning.

Affordability

Whether we’re talking about schools or companies, using virtual classroom software has proven time and time again to be more affordable than traditional classrooms.

All the tools, equipment, and materials are digital and can be accessed wherever and whenever they’re needed.

Companies don’t have to build an actual classroom, and schools and students who don’t have the means don’t have to invest in textbooks or expensive school supplies.

Effectiveness

There’s no denying the effectiveness of virtual classroom software. In face-to-face education, students typically have a learning retention rate of 8% to 10%.

When it comes to e-learning, on the other hand, the learning retention rate is between 25% and 60%, which proves the effectiveness of virtual classroom software.

This is mainly due to the personalization of teaching materials. All learners can learn at their own pace, go through the different lectures as many times as they need to, and gain instant feedback on their progress.

The Bottom Line

Using virtual classroom software and LMS software can bring many benefits to learners and educators alike.

This technology has revolutionized education and made it accessible to all learners around the world.

This isn’t a technology that will replace teachers or educators, but rather a technology that helps them improve all teaching and learning processes and assist students in reaching their maximum potential!

Author’s Bio: Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools – currently associated with ProProfs Training Maker.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

How to Deal with the 5 Biggest Challenges of Online Learning

The following is a guest post by Sadi Khan, a content creator. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

E-learning is a little more than a decade old but it has grown immensely in this short period. The international online learning market is expected to be worth $325 billion by the year 2025.

The reason for this rising popularity is the convenience and minimal cost associated with online learning. It allows students or professionals to take courses that easily fit with their schedules. It is flexible and easily accessible. Plus, you can access the lectures or training material anytime to refresh your memory.

What are the biggest challenges of online learning? 

With many benefits, online learning comes with a few challenges. Luckily, these challenges are not insurmountable. Let’s see how you can deal with the 5 biggest challenges.

Challenge # 1: Digital Literacy 

While attending an online lecture or listening to informative audio is a simple task, one still needs a certain degree of technical proficiency. Watching a video is quite simple, but dealing with an online learning management system requires some understanding of technology. 

One has to log in to his or her account, participate in classes (submitting an assignment or partaking in discussion boards), and communicate with the teachers. If the person does not have basic digital literacy, he or she will find it difficult to make the most of that course. 

Solution:

The instructors or institutes usually provide detailed introductions and instructions regarding the lectures and learning material used in the course. Listening and adhering to these instructions is very important.

Opt for a course that provides technical support. Most online courses come with a full range of support services, including technical support by email, live chat, and phone. One can reach out to the faculty when he or she is facing a problem. Also, a person can avoid many issues by paying careful attention to how the instructor has advised them to navigate the course.

Challenge # 2: Poor time management and procrastination: 

A survey of 1500 online students revealed that flexibility and convenience are the two biggest reasons behind student’s choice of an online course. However, this positive aspect can quickly become a drawback.

Knowing that you can go through the lectures at any time, can lead to procrastination. You might start wasting your learning time in useless click-jumping and internet browsing.

Solution: 

Learn to manage your workload with your eLearning schedule. Make a timetable or class schedule and stick to it. If you have assigned two hours to online learning, make sure you are spending them on going through the course content or assignments. If social media or internet keep distracting you, either go offline while you are studying or use tools to block these sites. Several tools are available to block certain websites during a set period.

Avoid multitasking. Online learning needs to have a dedicated time. You cannot fit it in with other tasks like meals or spending time with your family. It will result in nothing but frustration. Focus on one task and then proceed to the next one. It will not only give you a sense of fulfillment but also helps with productivity.

Challenge # 3: Monotony 

Online learning can be boring. You don’t have classmates or teacher to interact. All you have are lengthy texts and video lectures that you need to go through. Even if the online format entails interesting content like infographics, and videos, things can still get monotonous. Students might eventually lose interest and drop out. 

Solution: 

Find a course that is dynamic, interactive, and fun. Teachers and institutes are getting better at creating more interactive courses and training methods. These courses have the right amount of challenges, videos, storytelling, and simulators to keep you going.

All these things can make it easy to continue with the training. Also, choose courses that offer a certificate or an acknowledgment, so you will have a motivating reason to complete the course.

Challenge # 4: Going Sedentary

The Internet has made it possible to study, work, or shop from home but it also comes with a lot of sitting and prolonged sitting can be as dangerous as smoking. A sedentary lifestyle is associated with serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some types of cancer.

Online learning is convenient but it also means that a person does not have to physically go to college or training institute. This increases a person’s screen time and adds to their sedentary lifestyle, which is detrimental to both physical and mental health.

Solution:

Do not spend hours and hours in front of screens. A simple exercise or activity like running can help you offset the risks of sitting for long hours. Take regular breaks and move away from the screen every 30 minutes or so. It is also important to have a proper desk and chair and a study area. Do not sit in your bed or couch with your laptop.

Challenge # 5: Technical Problems & Glitches 

Depending on where you are located, you can face issues like internet connectivity, hardware or software requirements, browser compatibility, and so on. These situations can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming. This is the reason online learning hasn’t been used to its fullest in developing or third world countries (where it can be the most beneficial).

Solution:

Make sure that you have gone through the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or ask the training provider about system requirements. Some courses require downloading specific apps or printing out the document. You need to make sure that you will not need a specific program or hardware that you cannot arrange. Don’t be shy of asking for technical assistance when you are facing a problem.

E-learning has a lot of advantages but there are some limitations as well. However, the benefits can easily outweigh the drawbacks. All you need is a good internet connection and you can start a course or degree program that will help with career advancement.

Isn’t that what you want?  

Author’s Bio: Sadi Khan got his Banking and Finance degree through a distance learning program. He currently writes on health and fitness-related topics on RunRepeat, an athletic shoes review platform.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.