As we continue to swoop into the digital age, our inclination towards a virtual presence has rapidly been turning into a preferential lifestyle. Remodeling the academic configuration from classroom to online is an ideal paradigm of the course.
With the new normal brought about by the novel coronavirus, these vogue lifestyle choices are increasingly being required. The enticing way of virtual learning has lately taken a turn as a necessary part of our lives. Following the existent global fight against the impact of Covid-19 and its loss-limiting strategies, it would be fair to say that eLearning is here to stay.
Essentially eLearning, or online education, offers courses, programs or degrees to be delivered online with the assistance of technologies to access the curriculum and assess the progress outside of the traditional classroom. Although the concept of distance education traces as far back as the 19th century, the technological boom of the millennium and industrial boost have created ample opportunities for learners to expand their skill sets through virtual platforms.
Arguably, traditional classrooms and real time physical attendance have their special appeal but as we embrace change it is supposed to lay out unique ways of endless and coherent opportunities.
Hence, if you are planning to enroll in an online course or your classes have moved online, it is wise to evaluate your preparedness without further ado.
Here is some guidance about how to yield the best out of this virtual classroom experience.
First things first, prepare yourself and commit to the course you are about to take. Many see eLearning as a "passive" way of studying. Though students have the opportunity to work from the comfort of their homes, they still need to perform throughout the course and be in charge of their accomplishments. Therefore, start by making a clear checklist of what you want to achieve and revisit it from time to time.
Know your syllabus and class
Syllabi are the roadmaps to excelling in the courses that one has enrolled in; make sure to assimilate to them ahead of time. It is also recommended that one know the class well–such as: the instructor, class size, assessment methods, and accepted norms–so that one can confront future challenges in an assertive manner.
Install a conducive workstation
One of the basic requirements of successful online learning is a place from where one can attend classes uninterrupted and free from distractions. Set up the workstation, preferably in a silent corner with a clear background and privacy, where no one can suddenly walk in.
Have reliable technical setup
As for the obvious technical support, eLearners must have their hands on essential equipment, a reliable internet connection and basic operational skills. Make sure to check the visual set-up, device's battery life, audio and headphones.
Virtual learning may have a range of latitudes to offer but it never compromises with the effort required. Class attendance still matters. So is appearing on screen in a timely fashion. Procrastination is one of the grave mistakes that one can make as an eLearner. Make efforts to be right on time for classroom sessions, stay updated with project information and be in regular touch with fellow students.
Focus on learning
eLearners have the comparative flexibility to shift their focus broadly towards study and make it a task they take pleasure in.
Psychologist Dr John M Grohol said, "Always think positively as you study, and if you're not feeling positive then step away and do another task until your mindset has changed."
The configurational flexibility of online education that Dr Grohol is referring to is rare otherwise.
Most effective learning sessions are interactive. Questions open up rooms for various perspectives and in-depth discussion followed by greater clarification on a topic. Therefore, students are always encouraged to demonstrate active participation.
Don't be afraid to seek help
Students might get confused, lose track or feel the need for certain assistance at times. They may also feel lonely in an online setting. However, they should never shy away from seeking help. eLearning providers have incorporated various forms of communicative methods to facilitate virtual learning, such as discussion boards, student forums and emails. Make prudent use of these methods to find a solution.
Follow virtual learning etiquette
Like every other social platform, eLearning has its own etiquette. Despite approaching a classroom from an informal setting, it is important to maintain a respectful demeanor while attendees communicate during class or discussion sessions, on students' online forums, or simply when they have a question to ask. They must refrain from sharing confidential or inappropriate materials online.
It is necessary to be mindful of the language and tone that are being used, because distant communication can be difficult to interpret the way it was intended. On a technical level, muting a microphone helps prevent the session disruption from background noises. It is advised that one find a workable space, as well as turn off one's mobile phone ringtone, notification bells, and other pop-ups on the screen to avoid distractions.
This new method of futuristic learning demands a flexible mentality–until it sinks in and becomes generally adapted. It sure is a lot of work to successfully adjust to a completely new set up and schedule. Start with a positive attitude, where virtues–like patience, self-discipline, persistent motivation, and a 10-minute breather–can help reap the rewards of a fast-paced learning experience.
Function as a community
Finally, act as a community. A sense of teamwork and mutual respect are explicitly appreciated in the new setting. Unanimously, distance should not come in the way of social bonding.