13 May 2015

5 ways to ensure an interactive E-Learning experience

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Online learning has offered individuals from all walks of life the opportunity to gain qualifications through studying a course entirely online. To ensure students achieve their best and become fully engaged learners, it is essential to offer students an online and interactive learning experience.
For E-Learning to be successful, it must move away from linear, click and read content to something more interactive and engaging.

There is so much to consider when incorporating interaction into your E-Learning offerings, so where do you start? Well, you can start by reading these simple five steps below…

           Offer power through topic selection

By allowing the student to decide what topics and units they want to learn students can gain a sense of empowerment and control over their learning experience. Furthermore, the student will be asked to explore the entire content of each unit, thus gaining more knowledge and understanding of the course. Through feeling a sense of empowerment over their learning, it will increase levels of interaction and engagement.

          Always ask for feedback

In encouraging student feedback, not only will it help improve the content and structure of the course, it will provide opportunities for your students to feel engaged. Feedback can be given on a range of issues such as content relevance and quality or levels of support, so don’t limit the areas in which your students are asked to provide their feedback.  Explore methods of gaining feedback in both qualitative and quantitative methods then evaluate and compare the quality of both.

Get students socially connected

Creating platforms for students to become connected through conversation and debate is a key way to create interaction. For example, by setting up forums for your students that prompt discussion based conversations, involved students will gain an interactive and social connected experience. Through becoming connected with other online students, a sense of student-to-student support is created which enables students to support, learn and interact with each other.

 Understand the importance of reflection

Reflection is an important technique to prompt learners’ self-awareness and helps the learner to examine their own decision making processes and deepen their understanding. Metacognition strategies incorporated into online courses can be easily and quickly added into your online offerings. For example, universities can provide open text input screens to allow the learner to consider a question and note down their own thoughts and reflections. Through allowing your students opportunities to take a moment to reflect, they then internalise and integrate the content in their own way which results in higher levels of interaction.

       Allow the learner to pull out information

It is all well and good to ensure you provide all the necessary information and relevant content for the learner, however, to transform the click and read experience to an interactive one; you must create an environment in which the learner has to draw the relevant content out for themselves. Each learner will approach this task differently with some having an exhaustive search and others making guesses. Either way of doing so is fine as allowing the learner to pull out relevant content   increases opportunities for important decision making and encourages learners to take charge of their learning.

These 5 simple ways are just the start of how you can provide your online students with a more interactive and engaging experience. Many online tertiary providers currently have successful interactive online offerings, others have room for improvement. Through understanding the perspective and experience of your E-Learning students, your offerings can support learning and ensure each student is given the best chance of success throughout the duration of their course.  

As a tomboy child, Holly enjoyed watching wrestling and was The Rock’s biggest fan. She is from a tiny farming village in the north of England and has moved to Sydney to enjoy the city lifestyle. As a conference producer at Akolade, Holly enjoys researching with and learning from key professionals within a range of sectors to produce timely conferences. Furthermore, Holly enjoys how each day in the life of a conference producer is always different and exciting! 

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