Esl online learning

10 Best Practices For Online Instruction

There are many lists of "best practices" to be found, so you might be thinking what's new here? Well, our list includes 10 of the most commonly discussed practices, covering a wide array of needs in an online/hybrid course environment. For starters

  1. Be Present
  • - Decide what this means for you, based on your preferred mode of communication and availability. Pertinent examples include live chats, email etc. For example, (I will reply to emails within 24 hours).

  • - This step is vital for establishing a personal connection with your learners

  1. Set Clear Expectations
  • - This is absolutely a two way street. By this we mean that you should outline what your learners should expect of you and also what you expect of them in the course.

  • - Set clear learning outcomes and objectives, and the predicted time investment

  • - Make sure to delineate what they should expect of each other, whether from individual classmates or group partners

    •  * In essence, we want to make sure there are no surprises or questions about how to access information

    •  * Reiterate the lines and ways of feedback or communication, in case there are updates to be issued out

  1. Create A Supportive Online Community
  • - There are three types of interaction to be considered:

    • ~ Educator <--> Learners

    • ~ Student --> Content

    • ~ Student <--> Student

  • - Make sure to outline what resources are available to facilitate interaction and establish acquaintance with one another. Eg. Forums, Wikis, Blogs etc

  1. Use A Variety Of Group & Individual Work Experiences
  • - Ensure that your pedagogical approaches accommodate multiple learning preferences, whether in individual or group learning scenarios

  • - Offer a combination of individual learning activities to give the learner personal responsibility and accountability for their own learning, and also add group learning activities to broaden the learner's perspective by hearing from others.

  1. Use Both Synchronous & Asynchronous Activities
  • - No doubt one of the main appeals of online learning is its flexibility to work at times that suit the learner. In this vein, asynchronous activities allow flexible participation from each member in an inclusive manner

  • - Sometimes a blend of synchronous and asynchronous methods may enrich the learning experience more, as more spontaneous and engaged interactions result.

  • - Of note, synchronous learning can still be flexible enough to suit the learners specific situation. For instance, consider chat rooms, phone communication, texting, and real-time collaboration programs such as Google Docs.

  1. Solicit Informal Feedback Early On
  • - For this step, we encourage educators to solicit learner feedback early on in the course, so as to incorporate changes in a dynamic manner. This shows an active interest in your learner's learning, leading to better engagement and learning outcomes

  • - Solicit feedback in a general sense for the course overall and also for the specific learning assignment. This way, you reduce the likelihood of getting surprisingly critical feedback at the end of the course, a proverbial parting shot 

  1. Prepare Effective Discussion Posts
  • - Discussion boards and forums are a great way of visualizing learning as it takes place, and making the course interactive, more so among the learners.

  • - Use these as a chance to deliberately engage more with your learners. So plan your posts with careful intent. 

  • - If time is an issue for you, you can make the discussions student led and set it up such that they give feedback to each other.

  1. Use External Online Content & Resources Whenever Possible
  • - Sometimes encouraging students to interact with content beyond the curriculum you have created brings unique perspectives to your course. 

  • - Furthermore, it enables them to draw meaning connections to current events, varying perspectives, and real-life examples.

  1. Combine Core Concept Learning With Customized & Personalized Learning
  • - When it comes to meeting core learning objectives and your learners' personalized professional goals, walk and chew gum at the same time. Why does this matter?

  • - Learners become more personally invested when they clearly realize "what is in it for them"

  •  - Skills and knowledge provided in the course is then directly applied, accomplishing the fundamental purpose of the course itself 

  • - Learners learn from each other, broadening their perspective on the issues.

  • - Coursework & projects are more varied because each individual in the course is able to express themselves

  •  - Basically, while low-level skills can be achieved in a group learning format, more advanced learning is most effective in a personalized learning approach.

  1. Have A Closing/Wrap-up Activity
  • - One of the biggest challenges of online learning is to foster an environment in which the learner does not feel detached from either other learners or the content itself. i.e. Take the last test and that's it, have a good life!

  • - To avoid this, have a "wrap-up" project that incorporates the various learning objectives covered in the course.

  • - A wrap-up project helps put things in perspective, answering questions such as, what comes next? How can I apply what I've learnt to my personal circumstances etc


We hope that you have enjoyed reading up on some of our suggested pedagogical techniques for online instruction. At Learn Or Teach, we offer a project based Learning Management System that satisfies all the 10 principles mentioned above. Our course creation process allows the educator to set clear learning objectives, incorporate learning content with any media format to facilitate both group vs personal and asynchronous vs synchronous learning approaches.

 Furthermore, we provide internal blogs for creating discussions, sharing projects, and sharing experiential learning activities. All throughout, we provide course rating and review mechanisms as well as text communications, so as to ensure that feedback can be dynamically communicated among learners and between the learners and the educator. To create & sell your own online course or conduct internal training for your employees, click here 


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