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5 Trends to Improve Online Learning

Online and distance education has been growing in popularity in recent years as many Learners realize that it is more convenient than most traditional classroom settings and with the proper development can be just as rewarding and engaging as learning in these more traditional settings. One distinct advantage of online learning is that it is constantly evolving to meet students’ needs and to grow along with the demands of modern education. As a result today we will be covering five current trends that can be used to improve the overall quality of online learning and online teaching.

Data-driven education

Data-driven education is the use of quality data from current and previously taught courses in an instructional setting to identify weak points or areas for improvement in students, courses, and instructors alike. This is an invaluable development for online education, and we can see from the research in the resource above that when learning management systems are put into practice alongside embedded assessment tools, school productivity increases considerably. Data-driven education has been rising in popularity in recent years due to its ability to address the common complaint of impersonal learning that many students have long felt is an issue inherent distance learning.

Personalized learning

Personalized learning is a broad term used to describe the practice of tailoring instructional material and lessons to the individual needs of the students or student in a course. In the previous section we discussed data-driven education which is simply a means to the end that is personalized learning. The best practices for putting personalized learning into action includes strategies such as individual assessment of needs, implementing personalized learning plans, and managing learner profiles.

Many students require a unique approach to their own education and by trying to tailor your educational practices to an individual students needs you can ensure that the quality of the instruction you provide them will rise drastically. This can be as simple as using surveys and questionnaires to ask students what they feel is missing or what they need in a course, or it can be as comprehensive as using computer analytics systems and data-driven education to complete the practice.

Social media engagement

Another key issue that students have identified in distance learning in the past has been a lack of engagement or a feeling of being disconnected from either the instructor or the classroom environment. However, this can be simulated and even replaced by the use of social media and other types of social engagement in the course. We have seen a simpler version of this idea with tools such as discussion boards and sometimes even videos used for engagement in the class. In spite of this, the advent of social media has brought this type of engagement to an entirely new level. Students are now able to instantly communicate and cooperate with one another across any distance and simulate entire classrooms completely online, and practices such as Taylor Bell’s use of Google and YouTube to teach his students mathematics is an excellent example of this..

Study opportunities

Oftentimes students will require additional instruction or aid in a course, especially if the course is particularly difficult or complex. Because of this many students will seek the opportunity for additional study with peers or via tutoring. Implementing these tools into your online education will allow your students to connect with one another or to connect with you, and improve the overall quality of their education by providing them with the extra help and engagement that they will need to be successful.

Teacher engagement

As an instructor it is important to always be available to students. However, with distance learning it is not always easy for students to get into contact with you. In traditional classrooms students may approach you or ask questions during a lesson if they need clarification, however, in distance learning there are often fewer opportunities to request instructor help, and articulating the issue is not always as easy as it is in person. However, with more instructor engagement students may have an easier time grasping difficult subject matter and feeling more connected with their course overall; and instructors looking to put this into practice will want to overcome the three barriers that can inhibit teacher engagement.