Best Practices for Distance Learning

Increasing Interest in Distance Learning

Distance learning isn’t anything new. Universities and other learning institutions have implemented it with great success, but its use is not widespread in the K-12 levels.

With the current situation and stay-at-home policies around the country, all levels are using distance learning, with many schools implementing an enhanced curriculum to provide students with the best possible learning experience.

As we progress further with distance learning, depending on when students re-enter the classroom, we will see it modified to fit the needs of students at all levels.

That said, we have seen some interesting best practices from this learning environment that may be of interest.

Social Isolation is a Challenge

Learning from home can bring a sense of detachment. Without being in a classroom and benefiting from shared social interactions, students more easily become bored with their lessons or occupied with non-school activities.

  • One recommendation is to encourage all teachers and staff to make frequent use of social media and chat tools such as Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. to encourage student interaction.

This will help students feel more engaged with their teachers, other classmates and the educational institution.

Counseling for Career Development and Learning

Another way that educational institutions can support their students is to offer online advisement services via e-mail or the aforementioned chat tools. Encourage students to reach out when they hit roadblocks in terms of motivation, engagement, or career development.

  • Some institutions offer an “e-mail an advisor” service where students can reach out and receive 24-hour response to their questions and challenges.

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Online Tutoring and Educational Support

Institutions can offer students online resources to help them with specific subjects or topics. Doing so will keep them engaged and interested in their chosen course and career path. There are a number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) that can be taken for free. Students can learn at their own pace and review the course requirements prior to enrollment.

  • Organizations like learntobe.org offer free and low-cost tutoring in a wide variety of subjects.

Career Decisions

One of the most critical elements for any distance learning effort is to make resources available to help students decide on their career choice. According to geteducated.com, indecision around career choice is the number one reason for student drop out at both traditional and online learning institutions.

  • One easy way to help students decide is the Idea Generator, which asks a series of questions and uses that information to provide an overall career profile with possible career recommendations.

Online Community Learning Forums, Chatrooms and Study Groups

Online forums and study groups enable students to interact with others that may be enrolled in the same or similar courses or study paths. Connecting with others online helps students balance the many demands in their life, which may include family, work, volunteerism and other endeavors.

To learn about Rush services and solutions for online distance learning and e-education, please see our Education page or contact us for more information.

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