How eLearning Providers Can Help Students Who Struggle Online
eLearning has expanded educational opportunities for many across the globe, yet it is failing many students. Research has shown that whereas online courses can improve access, they are also challenging, especially for the least well-prepared students. These students don’t do well in online courses; they still perform better in face-to-face classrooms.
Research has found that while online learning could potentially, through artificial intelligence, provide the optimal course pacing and content to fit each student’s needs. In reality, the vast majority of online courses still mirrors face-to-face classrooms.
eLearning has excellent potential, but eLearning providers will have to rethink course design and educational support so students can be more comfortable doing online courses. Let’s look at some ways that this can be achieved.
1. Don’t underestimate pilot feedback
If you want to make sure that your class will tick all the boxes for online learners, you should do a “dry run” of the course before you launch it. This allows you to test the class to see how it is likely to be accepted by students. A pilot will put you in the position to gather information on the educational validity of the course – is the content too complicated or too simple; do the activities work; are the assessments realistic; are the instructions clear?
To make sure that students of all levels and abilities can benefit from the course, the course should be tested on students divided into different groups. The feedback allows course designers to adapt the course for maximum effectiveness.
2. Incorporate spaced learning
Studying is useless if students forget the information they have been exposed to. eLearning course designers can help students retain information by incorporating spaced learning opportunities. Spaced repetition or spaced learning leverages a memory phenomenon called the spacing effect, which describes how our brains learn more effectively when we space out learning over time.
So, if students are given opportunities to learn and test the same information over an extended time, they will be more likely to remember it and retain it long-term. Review exercises and quizzes are suitable for this purpose. This will help more students to complete their studies successfully.
3. Provide ample resources in different formats
One of the prime benefits of eLearning is its access to limitless online resources. eLearning designers can draw on a variety of teaching resources that allow for different learning styles, which can maximize a student’s chances of success. For example, some students can be provided with more videos, while others could receive more text-based materials depending on their learning style.
The wider the choice of formats, the better. For example, materials like graphic organizers, digital canvas work, video, and infographics, can be included.
For eLearning to reach its full potential, online courses must first be vetted, then courses must provide spaced learning opportunities, and students should be provided with a wide range of resources in different formats. In this way, online students will have a better chance of succeeding in their studies, and eLearning would succeed in its aim to expand educational opportunities for everyone.