5 Ways to Make Remote Learning More Effective

Lizzie Ottenstein
Shreejana Mainali
A person taking notes from a laptop during a remote learning session.

Every industry has suffered from COVID-19, especially education, and the transition from the classroom to remote learning has been a challenge for educators. Some of the issues teachers face include a lack of an effective online course plan, unfamiliarity with online tools, and unmanaged class schedules. Teacher-student communication is especially difficult. 

Each teacher has a different communication method and way to distribute class materials. Using a platform that hosts course material all in one place makes the already disorienting transition to online learning more manageable. Not having to keep track of where material is and making  distribution consistent and standardized is the best way to make teaching and learning effective. 

Despite challenges we face due to COVID-19, online platforms provide ways to enhance the learning experience. In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, we are providing 5 ways teachers can make their remote classrooms more effective. Read on to find out more. 

Set up a centralized platform to streamline communication

A centralized platform that provides daily reminders for assignment submissions, quizzes, and so on helps keep students organized and informed. Teachers can use these platforms to share materials including videos, podcasts, or e-books to supplement classes, which can be helpful during one-on-one Q/A or group discussion sessions. Using the same platform makes communication consistent between teachers and students. 

Encourage collaboration even during social distancing 

Virtual collaboration normalizes social distancing and reduces study related stress. Teachers can plan out lessons and assignments involving interactive group work, such as peer editing or break out groups. Teachers can design assignments in such a way that students are encouraged to collaborate and ideate together, perhaps even more so than if they were back in the classroom.

Provide a personalized learning experience 

Every student has a unique learning style, and providing a personalized learning experience enhances that process, especially remotely. Personalized learning allows educators to understand how a student learns and provide constructive feedback. The Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education expressed how personalized learning is transforming the way her students learn: they are more attentive learning through video conferencing calls (with tools like Zoom) because teachers pay attention to all students since everyone is front row. It also helps teachers evaluate which students are more likely to participate, and gives students additional opportunities to do so. Some feel more comfortable using the chat function to ask or answer questions. Feedback can be given from both teachers and students through tools such as Google Forms or Typeform, and the data obtained from these sources can help develop creative and inclusive lesson plans, tutorials, quizzes, and learning models.

Encourage self-assessment 

Online learning can be isolating, and students might not feel a sense of community. It is imperative that they not only seek feedback from teachers but also from within. Teachers should encourage their students to reflect on their remote learning performance and work towards attainable goals. They should ask themselves: What are my learning goals and what is my progress so far? Strategies for self-assessment include sessions where students reflect on lessons, plans, or modules that worked or didn’t work.

Exercise empathy and flexibility

Current times call for empathy and flexibility. Most students have lost opportunities they otherwise depended on to meet daily basic needs. Some have returned home and may not have internet access or are navigating how to maintain a schedule that aligns with their time zone. Instructors should consider lifting certain restrictions for students fighting to make a livelihood or whose families are suffering from COVID-19. Professors can send out recorded lessons or extend assignment submission dates.

Teachers are now tackling remote teaching and learning. Although this process can seem challenging or daunting, it’s possible to successfully implement remote learning with a proper action plan in place in ways just as effective as though it were in person.