e-Learning classroomSome points to keep in mind while identifying an e-Learning classroom solution for your school
Written By: Divya Agarwal|
January 3, 2015|
In this digital age when our students intuitively take to technology and different gadgets for social networking and sharing of ideas, it is only natural that we extend this aspect into the classroom learning as well. Research shows that students whose teachers use technology in the classroom tend to score better than students whose teachers do not.
However, with so many different e-learning solution options available for schools, it is important to pause and question what goes into the making of an effective e-learning programme. Here are some questions to keep in mind while deciding on an e-learning solution for your school –
What are the components of an effective e-Learning solution?
A holistic educational solution will offer a range of elements: instruction, practice, evaluation, suggested lesson plans, assessment activities, using digital and print resources in well-planned and cohesive manner. This allows the teacher to plan the classroom interactions keeping the specific needs of the class in mind in a Blended Approach – seamlessly connecting technology, textbooks, class activities and teacher explanation for an engaging learning experience.
Do these resources promote teacher involvement and offer flexibility?
The teacher should have the flexibility to use the different resources as per the class requirement. The solution should lend itself to be used in varied ways: whole class, group, and individual instruction and learning. The content should be comprehensive and meet the educational requirements of the students. At the same time, teachers should be able to easily add their own worksheets, presentations or videos if they wish to, adding to the content repository for future use as well.
The same flexibility should be extended in the infrastructure as well. The solution should be made available in a single classroom, multiple rooms, a computer lab and an entire school as per the infrastructure and budget of a school.
Are these resources based on educational principles and are they created by educators?
Progressive pedagogy: The lessons should be based on established internationally accepted educational principles with a clear structure and development. The content should be based on modern educational research incorporating the best of Behaviourism, Constructivism, Multiple Intelligences and Brain Based Learning.
The lesson framework should be clear: explanation/ discussion, guided practice or independent practice, application. Varied interactivities help keep the learner on task and enable a teacher to evaluate for understanding. Content created by educators ensures that the explanations and activities are pitched at the level appropriate for a specific grade and subject.
How does the solution address the school curriculum?
There has to be a seamless integration of the solution in a school’s educational programme and teaching learning practices.
The structure of each lesson and each course must enable a teacher to weave in the solution with the school textbooks and other resources, to create a rich learning experience.
The digital and print resources should help the teachers in continuously evaluating learning, to help each learner realise his/ her potential. The programme must empower teachers to do all this in an efficient and effective way, freeing them up from routine paper work to focus on a higher level preparation of lessons, wider educational reading and for providing individual attention to children in each class.
The solution should also allow teachers to track each student’s progress and levels of understanding of the core concepts, and across a subject, enabling intervention and dynamic support as and when required by the students.
Critically, the solution should enable teachers to use the varied strategies for teaching embedded in the content.
How will an effective e-learning solution help my students learn?
At the core of the programme should be the development of student learning – creating enduring understanding of concepts, not cramming formulae, facts and rules. The focus should be on the clear explanation of concepts to help students gain a sound and full understanding.
Presenting concepts in context, through real life examples help the students make connections with their previous learning, and to extend the knowledge gained in new situations. Helping students build skills for learning is equally essential as different learning strategies help them become better learners, to draw inferences and take decisions independently as they grow into confident learners.
Meeting different learning needs and styles: The use of all elements of multimedia-audio on screen text, animations and videos, and interactivities makes for a vibrant teaching learning experience, and helps meet the different learning styles of students. Voiceovers add value and increased functionality to interactive content. They help engage auditory learners, and develop speaking, listening and reading skills. And interactivities in the classroom help in learning by doing and through peer interactions.
How can the e-learning solution provider help my school integrate newer technologies and upgrades in the near future?
Currently, most of the e-learning solutions can be server-based or web-based, with students being able to access the content from home if required by the school.
As tablets are being used on a wider basis with each passing day, the introduction of tabletbased learning in the classroom has already begun. When identifying a solution provider, it is important to home in to a company that can help the school grow in the technology roadmap.
So if you are implementing an interactive classroom solution today with interactive boards and digital content, enquire whether your e-learning solution provider will be able to provide a tabletbased classroom solution in the near future.
Is there support for the school in programme implementation and teacher training?
Continuous support: It is only natural that teachers will have questions as they begin using technology and digital content in their classrooms.
There should be wide and continuous support provided for the easy and effective use of the solution. Ongoing teacher training, placement of an IT Executive on the school campus, follow up visits by company representatives, electronic and telephonic discussions with concerned people to address queries are some of the ways in which the content provider needs to support schools on an ongoing basis. So it is important to select a company that can provide that kind of support on a long term basis.