Blended Learning: Top 10 challenges and how to solve them -1/2 Leave a comment

Blended learning is a recent development in educational techniques that combines old-school methods with some elements of virtual reality. It involves certain factors like cloud based teaching platforms, different modalities of learning including live and self-paced classes, closer peer communication, and old good coaching.

Despite of all the beautiful opportunities of the blended learning, and teaching, for that matter, there is, nonetheless, a number of challenges for tutors. Let us look into the most evident ones.

 

Lack of a personal contact

 

We all know the main channels of communication process offered by Claude Elwood Shannon as early as in 1948. In a classical scheme, the Sender transmits the Message through a certain Channel so that the Receiver at the end of the chain interprets it and produces Feedback. We all remember the Noise that surrounds both of them and interferes with the process.

The best channel for communication is, naturally, personal contact. This way, verbal communication constitutes only 20% of the message. All the rest is transmitted non-verbally, through posture, gestures, mimics and facial expressions. If we put it that way, we clearly see that any virtual or online communication is quite limited in this sense.

Blended learning
Blended learning

 

Solution

 

Some online teaching platforms for tutors offer an option for video-conference. Online video is a great teaching tool that you can blend into your course programme to improve the channel of communication.

Another way to improve the learning experience in virtual world is to have a solid base of course documents printed and handed out before the session, and then displayed on the screen as well. This way, two different media transmitting the same message along with your instructions given verbally provide for a better communication.

Blended learning
Blended learning

 

Lack of eye contact

 

Eye contact is the way to ensure everybody’s participation. A direct eye contact is a sign of friendliness and openness. Obviously, lack of it affects the perception of the tutor by students. In a regular class setting your peer become a groupe of people, a social unit. Eye contact between members of the group is one of the main nonverbal channels of communication. An experienced tutor catches certain reactions of the audience even before they are put in words. That’s why teaching in virtual environment can be challenging.

 

Solution

 

Stimulate and give incentives for typing any question that comes in your students’ minds. Try to get their reactions by asking open questions. Use emojis to translate your emotions.

At the same time, communication by Internet gives a sense of anonymity which can actually help some students to open up. You’d be surprised how many heated debates took place in virtual chat rooms of e learning platforms.

 

Internet connection / technical issues

 

Let’s refer again to our communication model above. Any technical issues or interruptions in the transmitting the Message is called Noise. It’s always unpleasant, be it in a classroom setting with some wild students, or during a session of an online learning platform. Unintentionally, the real-life speaker raises up his or her voice because the main goal, of course, is to send the Message. A virtual tutor has to slow down, and to spend more time trying to fix the problem.

Remember this feeling of embarrassment when you were presenting a project, and your brilliant, beautiful Powerpoint presentation is somehow lost, or you can’t download it from your USB-key. This is the feeling that your teacher fights every time there is a technical issue with the application.

 

Solution

 

A vast majority of technical issues is due to slow or poor Internet connection. With the help of Speedtest, check both download and upload speed of your channel. For decent communication you need to have at least 3 Megabit per second for incoming connection and at least 1 Megabit of upload speed. Ask your students to make sure their kids are not streaming HD-videos during the session.

 

Difficult to keep track of students’ participation

 

Participation of the students is the key factor for them to pass the course. In a real-class setting teachers can see students that are distracted, talk to each other or busy with any stupidity they can think of. That’s not the case, however, in a virtual setting of blended learning. Here, we measure students’ activity by their messages, readiness to answer questions and assessment results later during the course. We can’t see what the student is doing and if he or she is actually present at the session. Yes, the presence is taken at the beginning of the class, but we can’t be sure that at a certain moment during the session, the student is actually there.

 

Solution

 

In our experience, online sessions are way more fun than classes of a real-life setting. This way we need to shift our focus from taking disciplinary actions to finding ways to improve motivation of the students. Moreover, self-paced classes gain more and more popularity nowadays. This way, the student can decide for himself or herself what is the best time to study. So, try to give a choice of modes of learning, develop a version for a self-paced class, and leave the decision for the student.

 

Why do we learn better with a virtual lab? Leave a comment

As any educator knows, retention is very low for listening lectures and reading books.  Practice by doing increase retention many folds.

 

virtual-labs
virtual-labs

 

  1. Student experiences a dramatic increase in learning retention with hands on lab environment.
  2. Student can take lab assessment for learning validation.
  3. Reader/User users can translate concepts into immediate skills, certifications and more.

 

What Do We Get With a Virtual Lab ? Leave a comment

To truly learn, new information one must have the benefit of doing exercise and applying concepts to the subject. That’s why virtual tech lab is so crucial. Unfortunately, for most students, the computer lab experience is limited due to time, space and financial constraints. Today virtual computer labs are becoming prevalent in organizations around the world, replacing conventional labs. These labs reduce training expenses, allow instructors to remotely monitor the progress of all learners, and enable them to use the facilities both before the course begins and after it is completed.

 

  1. Every student gets an individual lab with no dependency on others.
  2. Students can access their lab 24 * 7 from anywhere
  3. Each student is provisioned a separate instance by system with no manual step.
  4. Each of these instance is persistent across life of the training/course including multiple connections inside one training session
  5. Custom labs exercises, content and data
  6. Production Grade Capability & Configuration
  7. No Simulation or Reduced Function

Learn how cloud-based computer labs can improve your training program http://www.aziksa.com

What is a Virtual Lab ? Leave a comment

It provides on-demand access to a wide variety of applications for anyone .These virtualized applications are delivered instantly to users via any computer or mobile device connected to a network at any location.  In general Virtual Lab is available 24/7. You are no longer confined to physical computers located on campus or office to access applications that are needed for your classes or training.

 

Sample big data lab on Aziksa Learning Platform.

 

virtual-lab
Virtual Lab
Selecting Tools for Virtual Classroom Leave a comment

Here are some of the features you should look for while selecting a tool for hosting virtual classroom.

 

Screen sharing

Application sharing

Document sharing

Whiteboard

Integrated audio

Video support

Pre-recorded content

How to prepare for Virtual Classroom? Leave a comment

Teaching in virtual classroom is different. Here are some proven practices to help you run a successful virtual classroom session.

 

Know your Audience

The more you know about your learners the more effective you are going to be at giving them just what they need, Define pre-requisites for your training, and if you have the tools and time to do so, verify they have been completed by your audience members.

 

  • Create a list of pre-requisites
  • Provide a pre-test
  • Review test scores

Seven Benefits of the Virtual Classroom 1 Comment

virtual_classroom3

 

Flexibility and Convenience

Virtual learning is very convenient. You can take a class on any computer, anywhere in the world that has access to the Internet and can accommodate a headset and microphone.

Online Training with Virtual Labs