In just a few weeks, we have all become experts in video-conferencing – or so it feels. For people in business schools and training centers, however, the experience has been a bit hectic. They have been trying to get students and tutors together on the same platform, discovering security breaches and glitches and in some cases also having to adapt courses to a completely new medium: real-time distance learning.
As travel bans, lockdowns and confinement will likely continue for some time to come, we thought we would put together a few things for you to think about.
1. To improve learning, focus on the experience
It is important to keep students active and engaged. The classroom must be flipped from a passive to an interactive learning environment. Otherwise, you’ll lose participants to e-mail and LinkedIn. Try using individual and group dynamics, team project work, video introductions, polls, messaging, 1-to-1 learning and small discussion groups to keep the energy flowing.
Create content that inspires people, share the knowledge and interact frequently. These are new keywords. Studies by Dresden University of Technology and the Boston Consulting Group show that the correct approach can improve the learning retention by some 20%. To do that, your content must be managed in ways that might be new to you – particularly when you want to share content from your participants. Is your current system ready for this?
2. Improve courses with analytics and feedback
Learn from your students. The best way is to use session engagement analytics. Keep an eye on who is participating or not, what sort of questions keep coming back and what sort of interactivity works well. Then you can include these in future sessions to keep the courses relevant and everyone on track.
3. Make it easy to use – and then easier still
Fiddling with cables or settings in the middle of a session can cause the tutor to fluster and will distract – and possibly lose - some participants. All functions have to be totally foolproof so they can be used pretty much intuitively.
4. Ensure everything works reliably
This follows on from focusing on the experience to a degree. The last thing anyone wants is a session that ends abruptly, with sound that cuts off or interactive tools that don’t really work. Not only is it frustrating for the students and tutors, it can affect their willingness to participate in future lessons. Always do a dry run to make sure you master everything and that the various functions actually do what they say they will do!
What systems are people using these days? At the top end of remote learning, check what we have done with the virtual classroom at IESE. For a smaller application that combines in-class and remote participants, see the award-winning KU Leuven education space.
Interactive virtual classrooms are the future of edtech
To work effectively, the distance learning experience should be more than an e-learning platform with a conference call. The brand and prestige of some business schools are currently suffering as students feel they are not getting their money’s worth in terms of the learning experience. Interaction is vitally important, as are the ability to reach out to the faculty and interact with others.
Ultimately, the remote experience should be as good as being in the classroom. In this way a virtual classroom becomes an engaging space that fosters the highest quality learning and collaboration. As a business school in today’s competitive higher education marketplace, this is where you want to be.
This is all the more important given the growth of modular curricula, adult learning and therefore online learning. These trends offer growth perspectives for the institutions that think the process through.
To see what a richer, more engaging remote learning experience feels like, book a seat at our next free virtual classroom session. In one hour, you get an inspiring view on the future of learning through weConnect.
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