Human behavioral responses are conditioned through stimulus-response patterns and associations between them, as well as through reinforcement techniques. Much of how we experience the world around us and each other has this conditioning as the foundation. Targeted ads are a good example of this. Social media companies, such as YouTube, look at how we respond to a stimulus by analyzing how we engage with the content. The company then finds an association between the two, for example, how long we look at a video could mean we like it or are intrigued by it. This translates into education when a student engages with content and displays a desired response, like scoring high on a test by engaging with content over time.
So, how do we offer the right stimuli to elicit desired behavior from our students, especially when we cannot be there to support them in real life?
Here are a few tips to successfully deliver an online course that will enhance your teaching so that you can meaningfully engage students:
Be there! Students found themselves failing courses during lockdown because of the lack of contact hours and even lack of teacher presence during class. In order to get your students to learn effectively, you must actually be present, not just on the call. You should actively engage them, answer questions, and support them.
Make sure the people in your class care about what you are teaching. If students aren’t engaging, there’s usually a reason why. It could be them. Or it could be your material.
Is your course doable?
Ensure that you have adapted your course material to work seamlessly in a remote learning environment. The course format should be logical and easy to follow. Is the workload evenly rationed? There is a correlation between well-designed courses and gratifying results.
Feedback, assessment and evaluation: Your course should have clear criteria for what constitutes success. There should be ongoing and consistent positive feedback between student and teacher. Communication between students and teacher is what makes a course truly great. As well as feedback, measuring the performance of your students is integral to whether your course succeeds. Why? When you find out what makes your students thrive, you are able to effectively strengthen your course(s). Using interactive instruments and activities makes assessment fun and enjoyable. Lastly, ask your students for constructive evaluation. Find out what you can change.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly: expect excellence from your course, your students and yourself. The work you put into it equals the results you will reap. As an evangelist of your field, do your best to instill your passion into your students.
Written by: Anna Blank (Intern at NBConsult Learning)