Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A tiered approach with eLearning students

Photo credit: Learning for All

I'll be repeating myself a bit from earlier posts, but I appreciate the overall message of the pyramid: start broadly as a way to assess the different levels and learning styles of students, and then take a more individualized approach after you've gathered more information. 

I think it's fair to start off any online course gradually, especially for those who are new to it. Allow students time to become familiar with the set-up and layout. An introductory video that shows the 'student-view' of where to find discussion forums, an assignment submission dropbox, and course readings is a good idea. Making sure to have face-to-face time (via Skype or other means) with students with the first 1-2 weeks is essential. A common refrain I hear from students taking online courses is "I feel disconnected." It's understandable, and teachers reaching out beyond email and text can go a long way. Audio-recorded feedback to assignments can add a more personal touch as well.

From an eLearning perspective, Tier 3 is especially interesting. The suggestion is made to utilize an "in-school team" for more intense assessment and instruction. Unfortunately, such intervention isn't always available to students taking eLearning courses. However, I've found in my board that with online learning becoming more prevalent, student success teams, resource teachers, and librarians are becoming accustomed to helping students taking online courses. eLearning teachers should encourage their students to utilize these human resources, in addition to providing links to helpful online resources.

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