“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced education institutes and organisations to adapt and innovate. Online teaching and learning has become a ‘way of life’ in what is considered to be the ‘new normal.’ Faculty from across the globe has had to very quickly master this new style of engaging with their students. The topmost priority has been to ensure that learning does not stop for beneficiaries and for learners across the globe. The other key attempt has been to keep the online classes interactive and engaging for all.
NIIT Foundationhas been providing skill training and career oriented courses for underprivileged students from across India. When the corona virus struck in India, it became crucial for the organisation to very quickly put in place long term solutions and to ensure that students can access their courses and attend their classes from anywhere. NIIT Foundation transitioned into a Learning Management System, LMS that is available both in web and app format. LMS follows a blended approach that gives an opportunity to the learners to engage in self-learning via e-book, videos, quizzes, assignments, assessments and also be able to constantly interact with their faculty and peers through weekly online live classes.
Based on our experience of interacting and conducting classes online over the last few months, here are 5 tips on how to make online learning fun, engaging and effective for all.
Tip #1: Be aware of your learners learning style and help them become Change Makers
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” — Bob Proctor
Knowing your learners preferences, needs and learning style is the key to a productive online class. Activities can be designed accordingly. At NIIT Foundation emphasis is laid upon all the three learning styles namely auditory, visual and kinaesthetic. This is accompanied with the belief that the learners can bring about a change in themselves and everyone around them. We assist the learners to focus on the development of their whole person which means to develop in all the aspects of one’s life than just one. This holistic approach not just enables the learner to grasp more but also helps them to become Change Makers for themselves, their family, friends and the community at large.
Tip #2: Include energizers and fun activities
While grasping the concept being taught during an online class is vital, it is also important to make the online classes’ fun and engaging. A simple way to do it is by adding some energizers and group activities during the sessions. Our faculty is trained on conducting ice breakers, energizers and various fun activities suitable to different age groups and learning styles that makes learning enjoyable. It also helps the learners to build confidence and communicate effectively.
Tip #3: Offer space for individual and group learning
“You know, you do need mentors, but in the end, you really just need to believe in yourself.” — Diana Ross
Individual as well as group learning is an important aspect in online courses. It helps an individual to identify his or her own strength and weaknesses and also helps each learner become a team player. During our interactive live classes the faculty engages in facilitating collaborative exercises, individual, pair and group activities to help the learners harness professional skills such as SWOT analysis, team work, problem solving, decision making and time management. This is also aimed at enabling them to strive for higher prospects of employability.
Tip #4: Give regular feedback on their growth
“Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions”-– Ken Blanchard
A positive feedback acts like a ladder for self-improvement. Our faculty closely follows the growth curve of each learner by monitoring. There is scope for a lot of self-learning through the material provided along with the live sessions. This helps to maintain a healthy competition and also aids the learners to recognise their areas of improvement. Regular feedback helps each learner to challenge themselves and attain the maximum results.
Tip #5: Constant motivation and recognition
“A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained.”- – Shawn Hitchcock
Each learner is unique and hence needs a tailor made approach to help him/ her learn and grow. At NIIT Foundation, we recognise that each child is different and unique and the faculty forms a rapport with each learner to constantly mentor them throughout the duration of the online course training. The learners are also applauded for their successes and given badges on NF’s LMS- Learn to recognise their efforts.
These 5 approaches of engaging with students, when taking online classes will surely go a long way in ensuring maximum learning for all.