Combatting Virtual Fatigue: Creating Rich e-Learning Experiences When Your Audience Wants In-person

Between public health concerns, initiatives to bring down education costs, and the drive to provide flexibility for non-traditional students, e-learning in higher education is here to stay. In fact, it will most likely continue to expand in the future. But how do you provide a dynamic and engaging learning environment away from the traditional classroom format?

4 Ways to Combat Virtual Fatigue

The answer is to lean into the strengths of e-learning while not forgetting that students are human beings who crave fulfillment and connection.

Provide Flexibility

Education researchers and instructors have always known that different students learn best with different educational environments and instructional styles. The best instructors vary their delivery and engagement strategies, even in a brick-and-mortar classroom setting.

E-learning does not require a rigid schedule, unlike in-person classes, but neither does it have to be completely independent study. Some students prefer more structure and synchronous instruction, while others prefer to work independently and at their own pace. With e-learning technology, you can support both. Depending on your students’ needs and the course’s subject, you could offer a mix of lesson delivery styles or even provide alternative lesson choices for the same material.

Not only can you diversify your instructional design, but you can also quantify which strategies work, and which ones don’t. SaaS e-learning tools allow you to create courses that include everything from short video presentations to crossword puzzles and interactive quizzes. They also offer insight into how your students are interacting with the course materials and activities.

Tracking metrics for student engagement and success allows you to see the strengths and weaknesses of your students and of your course materials. Armed with this information, you can make informed decisions about how to help your students thrive.

Add a Personal Touch

One of the biggest challenges of e-learning is the barrier between students and instructors. Even in a classroom with hundreds of students, in-person classes allow for the instructor’s personality and interests to show through as they present the material. This interaction creates a human connection that enriches learning. Though it takes more intentional effort, it is possible to add your own personal touch to e-learning courses. You can create introductory videos, personalized commentary, and even themed activities that allow students to connect to you as a person and not just the abstract entity who grades their tests.

Set Clear Expectations

Students need to know what they are doing and why. Your e-learning courses should include both high-level overviews of course goals and expectations and detailed outlines of specific course objectives and expectations. When you clearly communicate instructions, due dates, and intended learning objectives, it gives students the confidence to succeed.

Make It Short and Sweet

In-person higher education classes are often an hour to an hour and a half in length — sometimes even longer if they’re specialized classes or held less frequently. Longer classes work for in-person instruction when they have an engaging instructor who breaks up the content delivery, but it is far too long for e-learning. The digital world has trained students to turn off content that does not hold their attention. And their attention span is short.

Ten- to 15-minute lessons are an acceptable length to hold student’s attention without them clicking to another browser. E-learning courses can and should include all the material provided in an in-person setting, but broken down into short, easily digestible packages.

Partner with SoftChalk

E-learning can be an engaging and fulfilling educational experience with the right tools and intentional design.

SoftChalk provides instructors with the tools needed to create interactive educational experiences for different learning styles.

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