Facilitating Distance Learning: 5 Best Practices


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From an instructor perspective, when you consider designing an online course from a traditional course, there are some considerations to take into account. The presentation I developed showcases the five best design practices I consider important for an effective online learning environment. I hope you enjoy it!

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  • [NARRATOR] Welcome! My name is Penny Cox. This short presentation features what I consider to be the five best practices for facilitating online learning when considering a design conversion from the traditional face-to-face course to an online one. While there are many considerations to take into account, these five are ones I consider crucial to a satisfying online learning environment. I hope you enjoy it!
  • [NARRATOR] The first rule-of-thumb in any course, whether traditional or online is simple: Introduce yourself! Since an online environment is devoid of personal face-to-face interaction, students and instructors should introduce themselves in writing in a student lounge specifically created for them and share a bit about their background for that personal touch.
  • [NARRATOR] Online instructors’ clear expectations for the course should be expressed early on. These expectations can be on course content, assignments, group activities and how students can utilize the various technology tools, such as blogs, discussion forums, wikis, etc., available to them for collaboration and communication.
  • [NARRATOR] Teamwork is an important element in any business organization. To help foster a better understanding of this for students, instructors should utilize group-building activities that encourage the participation and cooperation required in real life situations.
  • [NARRATOR] In the absence of face-to-face contact, feedback is extremely critical for student morale and development. It permits a communication exchange that is truly personal and provides reinforcement of instructor support and interest.
  • [NARRATOR] There are three main learning styles: auditory, visual and kinesthetic (Felder, 1993). While not everyone learns in the same way, an online course enhanced with audio, video, and hands-on elements will ensure the learning needs of a diverse audience.
  • [NARRATOR] In conclusion, instructors need to keep the students and course content in mind when designing online courses. While there is not one teaching method that is effective for all students (Felder, 2006), if instructors communicate course expectations, provide group activities to foster collaboration, give timely feedback and encourage interactivity, student engagement will increase and learning becomes more effective.
  • [NARRATOR] Thank you for viewing this presentation. Won’t you take a moment to take a short survey? Your feedback is greatly appreciated!
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  • Facilitating Distance Learning: 5 Best Practices

    1. 1. R. Penny Cox August 16, 2011 best practices facilitating distance learning 5
    2. 2. student-to-student instructor-to-students introduce yourself Source: Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, Zvacek 2009
    3. 3. instructor-to-student communicate expectations mindmaps wikis blogs discussion boards web-conferencing emails
    4. 4. facilitate teamwork student-to-student
    5. 5. provide feedback instructor-to-students
    6. 6. accommodate learning styles auditory, visual, kinesthetic Source: Felder, 2006; Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, Zvacek 2009
    7. 7.  Whether designing or facilitating online courses, it is imperative to engage the learner and to “keep the students and content in mind.” Source: Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, Zvacek 2009  “ No one teaching method will effectively reach all of your students. You cannot address all of your students' learning styles all of the time.” Source: Felder, 2006  Communicating course expectations, providing group activities, giving feedback and encouraging interactivity will engage students considerably and enable them to learn more effectively. Source: Piskurich, Chauser. 2010; Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, Zvacek 2009 summary
    8. 8. credits design & development: photos: music: created for: instructor: R. Penny Cox Contact: [email_address] Courtesy of Microsoft Numinous Shine by Ken McLeod Used with permission. Walden University M.S. Instructional Design & Technologies Graduate Program Dr. Laurie Bedford Distance Learning (EDUC - 6135 - 4) Thank you for viewing! SURVEY: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3ZTGDVB
    9. 9. Felder, R. (2006). Learning styles. On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty . Retrieved August 8, 2011 from http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/earlycareer/teaching/learningstyles.html#implications Felder, R. (1993). "Reaching the second tier: learning and teaching styles in college science education." J. College Science Teaching , 23(5), 286-290. Retrieved August 8, 2011 from http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/Secondtier.html Piskurich, G., Chauser, J. (2010) Facilitating online learning. Laureate Education Video Podcast. Retrieved August 8, 2011 from http:// sylvan.live.ecollege.com Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and Learning at a Distance. Foundations of Distance Education. (6) (p169) references