Online learning has been forthcoming for many years, but now with Covid-19 expediting the need for effective online learning systems, many teachers (and parents) are seeking effective ways to implement online learning at home. It’s important to remember that online learning, no matter how effective, will not be the same as in person or hands-on learning, but should not be discredited or under-valued. While trying to make online learning effective, guidelines to keep in mind include self-care, time management skills, and community. Here are some ways to make online-learning hassle-free and productive for everyone:
- Embrace Technology
First and foremost, understand that right now is a time to be lenient on technology use. Oftentimes, professionals warn adults about the risks of children spending too much time on electronics. However, during this time, it is essential that children are connected online. In addition, continue to be mindful of internet safety and protecting children while online.
- Make a To-Do List
Know exactly what needs to get done that day. Children and online tutors alike will benefit from having a daily plan. With a structured idea of what needs to get done, it’s more likely the focus will be on the important aspects of learning and less time will be spent on frivolous matters or distractions. A To-Do list also assists with creating a daily schedule. Make sure to incorporate the things that must get done into the schedule in convenient ways to ensure they actually do get accomplished.
- Create a Routine/Schedule
Changes in routine are already stressful, and with the added impact of Covid-19, the extra changes in schedule are likely to have a profound effect on children. Maintaining a routine during online learning is essential for reducing stress and anxiety in children in adults. When creating a routine there are a few things to keep in mind such as the child’s age and abilities, as these will have a strong impact on his ability to follow the routine. This also includes what type of schedule you will use. For younger children, a pictorial schedule will likely work best, whereas older children will be able to read schedules that include more words.
- Set Up a Dedicated Work Space
The same way schools and classrooms have areas specified for materials, books, and subjects- your online learning space should have the same. Again, keep in mind age and skill related organization. Younger children may benefit from color coded materials and picture signs while older children can benefit from a more uniquely designed area. Materials should not be mixed and should be easily-accessible to children with easy to read labels or pictures.
- Take Breaks
Schedule time in the day for a short amount of relaxation, about 15-30 minutes. The break can include snacks or age-appropriate physical activities. This can give the child’s brain a break in order to prevent boredom and fatigue. Sometimes, age-specific skills can be included in this break such as physical activity for acquiring gross motor skills.
- Use Your Resources
While your child will likely have work from school to complete, there is nothing wrong with using outside resources to supplement online learning activities. Having a community backing your online learning process not only helps it run more smoothly, but provides additional support. In addition, many companies such as Scholastic and Discovery Education are providing reduced subscription prices or other informational support items such as books, worksheets, and videos to assist learning at home.
- Be Creative and Have Fun!
Creativity encourages student motivation and engagement. While there will be a dedicated curriculum and state mandated requirements for information needed to be learned, how children gain skills and knowledge is up to the online tutor. Instead of watching videos and doing worksheets all of the time to assess learning, a hands on learning approach might be beneficial to some children. It’s important to understand your learner as well when trying to be creative. Younger students can dress up or create art to show their understanding of concepts whereas older children could stage a news report to share information they have learned. The possibilities truly are endless when it comes to online learning and learning in general.
- Monitor Student Progress
Online students need feedback, and online tutors need this information to help their online learning programs be effective and essential. It’s important to communicate with your child’s teacher about skills or concepts they are acquiring easily and ones they are struggling with. Doing so helps ensure that online learning is tailored to meet your child’s needs as it would be inside the classroom.
- Remember It’s Okay Not to Be Perfect!
Online learning is a learning process within itself for everyone involved, especially now during a global pandemic. While you can try your best to be prepared, understand there will be bumps in the road. Things will not always run smoothly 100% of the time, children will not always get their work completed 100% of the time, and that is okay! Do the best you can with what you have, while striving to get more. The important thing is to learn from these hiccups to make your online learning experience better.
This is a time of uncertainty for everyone, but these guidelines will help learning from home be more effective far beyond this pandemic. Online learning has become the new reality and without effective systems in place, our children will suffer. Education should not stop just because the platform it’s delivered on has changed. Utilizing these tips, online learning from home will be more effective and beneficial.
When it comes to your child’s education, small things make a difference. This is why Learn@Home, www.learnathome.org, focuses on providing tailored, targeted, and affordable online instruction with support from real educators.
With so many of us navigating this new way of living during a pandemic, creating some sense of routine and normalcy in our lives is important for our well-being. Education is one essential fact of daily life that should not be left up to guesswork.
Getting your child back on track now will help prepare them for success in the years to come.