Tips For Virtual Teachers: How To Help Your Online Students Get The Most Out Of Their Training

Completing an online training course is not as easy as it sounds. Despite the flexibility and comfort that the online course offers, there are also a lot of challenges for online students. Sometimes, completing the course can feel like an impossible dream, and a lack of time and motivation may prevent your students from getting the most out of your online class.

Clearly state your teaching intentions

Before creating any course, you will have to answer several questions. Be honest with yourself. By doing so you will be able to build the solid foundations of a meaningful connection with your future students. Moreover, clearly defining your teaching intentions and learning objectives will make your students feel calm and confident. In addition, having a solid training structure will give you the chance to focus on your teaching experience, which will give you the time to mentor and motivate your students.

Where to start from?

The learning objectives and the teaching intentions will come as you answer the following questions:

  • What do I want students to know?
  • What do I want students to understand?
  • What do I want students to be able to do?

These will give you a better understanding of the practice, the audience, and the teaching methods suitable for the course . Be sure to also factor in time when planning. This will be useful when you create the perfect course structure.

Types of teaching intentions

  • Focus on knowledge

If this is your primary teaching goal, then guide your online students to different kinds of knowledge. Be specific and relate this knowledge to real-life situations. Focus your online sessions on particular topics and on the steps to getting something done in order to have your students try to figure out the reason behind an event.

  • Focus on skills

Often, teaching intentions that focus on skills are followed by certain knowledge or understanding. If your online students’ e-learning style implies some kind of action, your intentions will perfectly match the audience’s profile.

  • Focus on understanding

Understanding is built on knowledge and requires some kind of processing. Understanding includes the skills of analyzing, interpreting, and suggesting. Make sure that your online students are first exposed to learning.

Help your students get better results

People rely on memory to gain new knowledge. To learn something, it needs to be stored in long-term memory. Therefore, any learning relies on the ability to recall one’s memories and adjust them to new information.

Short-term memory keeps fast, incomplete ideas or concepts that serve as pointers or links to other knowledge. The process lasts less than a minute.

Here are some tricks to use to help your students transfer information to their long-term memory and keep it there.

  • Use repetition

Mental repetition is a common strategy. Give information meaning. Associate it with knowledge that your students already have. Both of these learning types rely on acoustics to encode information.

  • Present in a specific way so that it can be memorized easily

Statistically, students retain only about 8% of a tutor’s lesson after one week. The more difficult the material is, the more difficult it is to remember. Use multiple strategies to suit your students’ e-learning styles (mnemonics, visuals, repetition, sound, etc.).

  • Connect knowledge to real life

Let your students use what they have learned to solve a real-life problem. The more an individual is engaged, the more they will be willing and able to remember. Make a clear connection to the world when teaching something new.

  • Offer small bites of knowledge at a time

Divide your material and time into manageable chunks. In this way, new information will be easily absorbed by the online students. Choose a specific time for different learning activities and stick to it in the virtual classroom. Do dictations, quizzes, etc. on a specific day of the week or at a certain time, and repeatedly test what your students have learned.

Boost long-term memory

Every new bite of information is encoded as a memory. Your online students have to create memories around the thing they are willing to remember.

Cognitive psychology acknowledges four main steps to learning:

  1. Attention: the filter through which we experience the world
  2. Encoding: how we process what our attention admits into our mind
  3. Storage: what happens once information enters our brain
  4. Retrieval: the recall of that information or behavior

Here are some tips to help your student not merely memorize, but also understand the concepts that you teach:

  • Combine text with images
  • Integrate abstract concepts and specific examples
  • Use tests and quizzes
  • Share real examples and use cases
  • Personally engage your students
  • Ask questions regarding understanding and provide feedback

Tips to help your student not merely memorize, but also understand the concepts that you teach

Use mnemonic devices

A mnemonic device is designed to make new information more easily absorbable. Mnemonic devices involve focus. They help register new knowledge in our consciousness. After that, they connect new material with old knowledge in our long-term memory. They allow information to be easily retrievable when needed. Thus, older knowledge is the anchor that connects with new information. Additionally, mnemonic devices may use different codes – visual, verbal, and tactile.

Some of the most successful mnemonic devices are:

  • Songs or jingles that are somehow connected with the new knowledge
  • Acronyms and acrostics
  • Mind maps, diagrams, and other kinds of mental imagery
  • Rhymes
  • Spelling mnemonics (for example, I before E except after C)

Focus vs. crisis

Teaching offers many challenges. No matter how good of an online tutor you are, your training may be a real fiasco. One of the reasons is that your students may experience a kind of a personal crisis. As a mentor and a motivator you can offer your support and keep your students focused on the practice.

  • Make clear rules and follow them: tasks will help your student focus and unwind.
  • Allocate certain times to change things up: the result will be that the altered focus will make your students capable of completing many more tasks later on.
  • Implement a physical activity in your practice: their energy levels will go up, resulting in mild focus and less stress.

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Tanya Ilieva has strong experience in journalism, advertising, creative copywriting and digital marketing. She has a PhD in Graphic design from Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication in Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. Some of her creative works in advertising has been rewarded both in Bulgaria and abroad. Her fields of interest include: philosophy of language, semiotics, visual metaphors, linguistic.
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