Top tips for effective online learning

The teachers at Virtual School Victoria have compiled their top insights into how teachers can best engage learning from home students.

Even when your class is learning from home, students are still going to rely on you for direction and guidance.

The teachers and staff of Virtual School Victoria have compiled their top insights into how teachers can best support students learning remotely.

  1. Give very clear instructions. What do the students need to read, watch, write? How much should they write? How do they set it out? Be clear about what you expect to see in their work. What key knowledge and skills does it need to demonstrate? Set it out as simply and concisely as possible.
  2. Keep passages of text and videos short. Concentration declines very quickly online, particularly with the distractions of social media close at hand. Students generally need more ‘chunking’ of information online than they do face to face.
  3. Feedback keeps students engaged and builds a sense of connection. Timeliness is difficult but particularly important. Screen-casting can be very effective for formative feedback. Aim to keep it as natural as possible and maintain authentic connections with students. This is more important than producing a perfect screencast. Monash’s Digital Education Research team have published a very informative resource about using technology to deliver student feedback
  4. Discussion or forum tasks need responses. This can be from teachers or other classmates – students will generally give up if they feel no one is reading or viewing what they have said.
  5. Checklists help students to organise their thinking and their time.
  6. Avoid getting lost in fancy tools. Keep the emphasis on teaching and learning, not the bells and whistles. There are a lot of amazing resources available and the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented.
  7. Provide scaffolded research tasks. The internet can be overwhelming without guidance. Project-based learning provides strong opportunities for differentiation.
  8. Build-in self-assessment and reflection activities for students.
  9. It can be difficult learning online and it’s ok to admit that. Be available to provide support when needed. Remote doesn’t have to mean alone.
  10. Encourage presentation of work in a variety of formats.