Technology is everywhere, and we’re using it to do amazing things! Teaching online, for example! Sometimes, though, it can get a bit overwhelming: Virtual classrooms, file sharing, social media, scheduling, payments, notes, LMS, CMS, CRM — where does it stop?
We’re in the industry of online education, which by its very nature is technological. However, it also opens the door to this amazing world of tools to simplify every stage of the process – from acquiring new students to getting their testimonials at the end of the course of instruction.
For each stage, there are several competing tools to choose from! And instead of simplifying the process, they can actually make it complicated. Add to that the fact that, as online educators, we have a general level of comfort with technology that our students often don’t, especially if it’s their first experience with online learning.
How to use technology for instruction
So how do we use technological tools in a way that, primarily, simplifies our processes, and secondly, is intuitive for learners?
1: Limit the Amount of Tools You Use
Limit the number of tools when teaching online. When you have separate tools for every function, such as file-sharing, payment, note-making, scheduling or feedback, things can get overwhelming difficult for learners. Every integration you add also adds one more opportunity for something to go wrong. Having an all-in-one solution like WizIQ can help.
2: Be a Ninja with the Tech You Use
Choose your tools carefully, and above all, make sure you’re an expert with them. Trying out a new service? Use it with a friend first. This will help avoid many embarrassing situations with learners where, in an attempt to impress them with your “new system,” you aren’t able to figure out how to use some key functionality. Because you don’t use it beforehand and assume it would work flawlessly the first time. Total backfire. So, make sure you’re an absolute pro before you use it with learners.
3: Be Comfortable Using Nothing
It’s 2016 and technology is more reliable than it’s ever been. However, there are just some days when nothing seems to work properly. It will often be on the learner’s end (especially if they are in a developing part of the world), but sometimes it will be on yours. Sometimes, you might have to take a session over the phone or using a tool that doesn’t support learning delivery. No material to rely on, no video feed, no whiteboard, just you and your learner. While that’s a bit of an extreme example, it’s a real test for you. You need to know your material well enough to teach effectively.
Conclusion: At the end of the day, teaching is about communicating information, and very little is required for that. Technology has helped bridge the gap of geography, and it’s breaking more barriers all the time. As online educators, we know this, and our challenge is to use it in the most effective way possible to communicate with learners.
This’s what CO16 is all about. Let’s learn to leverage technology for effective instruction. Chris Rush presented on the Business of Business English on February 7, 2016 at 12 PM EST. Click on ‘View Recording’ button to watch his session.