How can online programs keep learners engaged?
- Keeping students engaged can be a challenge in a traditional class setting, but doing so via online course design can be even trickier.
- According to eCampus News, customizable assignments can engage online learners. Examples provided include taking a photo and describing it using concepts and theories from lectures, finding a public figure or neighbor to interview in a way that demonstrates understanding of lecture content, or arranging an opportunity to visit and observe local professionals in a field related to the course.
- Additionally, educators can build a sense of community that engages online learners by having them peer review each others' work or arranging group activities via discussion board posts.
One of the critical challenges in online education is designing courses and materials in a way that doesn't make students' eyes glaze over when they're reading from their screens or watching lecture videos. For-profit Strayer University has made this a significant focus in its course design, aiming to create "viral-worthy" episodic course content that is "provocative and interesting for students." The company has in mind a model that is similar to documentary-style lectures, which end with a Netflix-like prompt inviting the viewer to engage with the next piece of content at the end.
But on top of design, advances in technology over the last five years have made the online learning experience much more collaborative. 2U's platform, for example, allows for a "live classroom experience" where all participants can communicate in real-time, though that only works in models where students are required to virtually "attend" class at a set time. Still, the fact remains that online learning today is a much less disconnected and isolated experience than it was 10 years ago and than how many still imagine it to be.
- eCampus News Faculty: 6 social assignments for online students
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