How to have a successful online distance learning program

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3 How to have a successful online distance learning program
A satisfied female distance learner. Students are happier to make successful online distance learning. Image by PublicDomainPNG from Pixabay

 

 

Distance & Information Education

How to have a successful online distance learning program

Distance learning is the right choice for you

You have ascertained that distance learning is the right choice for you. While you can afford the program fees, have access to the personal computer (PC) devices and other gadgets as well as the internet, and are prepared to work hard enough to ensure success, the program favourably does not conflict to own personal, educational, and professional goals. It is flexible enough that it will not disrupt your work and family lifestyle and participation in community support services.

Again, you have all it takes to be on top of your game – possessing good study, social and communication skills, and requisite educational or professional qualifications and having the knowledge and abilities to be on the go. To crown it all, you are assertive, self-motivated & disciplined, and initiative.

How then can you have a successful distance learning program and achieve a lifetime career objective? The following subtopics are further discussed in an attempt to explain this blog topic:

 

Remote Distance Learning System must meet the educational needs and interests of students

Distance learning processes

Distance education methods and strategies

Factors that influence a successful distance learning course study

The importance and benefits of having a successful distance learning program

Overcoming the problems and challenges of the electronic classroom learning

Prospects and future of Distance Learning

 

Remote Distance Learning System must meet the educational needs and interests of students

Ensuring successful students’ learning experience is not only a function of personal and educational attitude and qualities but also must meet the needs, interests, and goals of children and students. Meeting the needs and interests of learners is one of the most important ideas in education 

So remote learning providers– schools, colleges, or higher education institutions must successfully drive students’ usage of adopted distance learning IT solutions to meeting their educational needs. The distance learning IT solutions must not just be easy to use but also make the students’ coursework simple.

Distance learning deliveries must be interactive and engaging if online, provide options to the choice of learning mode and feedback, and tap into students’ broad and long-term interests, needs, and aspirations – a thoughtful information communication strategy in a distance learning program can engage users and deliver tailored resources that demonstrate how those newly-adopted tools and solutions can improve their daily workflows.

 

Distance learning processes for success: How carefully designed online education can support students’ learning styles and transform information into knowledge gain

Carefully designed online learning can support students’ individual learning styles and transform information into knowledge acquisition.

– Course instructors are expected to give learners a better orientation to the online learning platform, provide technical support, and foster self-directed learning and learning-how-to-learn skills (such as locating and accessing information resources, organizing information, conducting self-assessment, and collaborating) in order to achieve program success. The online discussion forum in a networked community is an enhancement of the distance learning process that facilitates learning-how-to-learn skills and fosters self-directed learning.

Other distance learning processes and strategies for success:

– Adoption of one’s learning style to personalize the course of study.

– Processing of information online or offsite (offline) for knowledge acquisition is another remote learning process.

– Comfortable use of distance electronic technologies

– Students should have access to online resources at the right time.

– Students should be able to deal with documented uncertainty.

– Seeking and giving feedback in virtual classroom sessions and even through other distance learning modes.

 

Distance education methods and strategies for a successful learning program

Students’ access to information in online distance learning does not automatically create ideas or expand knowledge

Online distance learning is seen as a less effective form of education compared to traditional classroom learning and other learning modes even though it is advantageously faster and cheaper.

The fact that information is connecting the global economy and leveraging social, educational, and industrial lifestyle does not imply that access to it automatically expand learners’ knowledge or intrinsically create an internal framework of ideas.

Methods and strategies of distance learning

Skilled facilitation is a key to remote education strategies and methods for a successful learning program and the following skill-facilitation strategies are essential to make distance learning more effective:

Provision of technical training in educational technology tools and solutions

Good technical skills has been earmarked as a factor that enhances a successful distance learning program and providing training in the acquisition of such skills can leverage the learning management system as an educational technology solution.

Adopt and promote learning-how-to-learn, self-directed learning, and critical reasoning skills

Learning-how-to-learn is what a learner does to gain, understanding, application, and transfer new knowledge, skills, and abilities in various performance situations.

Self-directed learning is an act of learners feeling, and exercising, authentic control over the content, form, and purpose of their own learning.

Critical reasoning skills is the ability to focus on, carefully analyze something to better understand it.

Developments of information management skills to improve social interaction

Developments of information management skills to help learners critically assess and select learning activities and tasks and improve on the social interaction in distance learning.

Combine e-mail discussion with audio and video interactive methods to enhance the social aspect of distance education. A networked learning community can keep human relationships at the center of learning.

Learning activities must be student-centered

Learning activities must be student-centered structured both for independent and group work, not just to foster social interactions but also need the cognitive needs of the students.

Provision of technical support

Providing technical support is a way of planning for technical failures in case of any eventualities.

Understand the strengths and weaknesses of technology

A student in an online program study should expect certain challenges associated with Distance Learning Management System since technological applications have both strengths and weaknesses.

 

In our other Distance & Information Education posts, you will find:

 

Factors that determine a successful distance education program

How distance learning works

Distance Education System: Meaning, Features, Technology Application and Resources

Distance Education vs Distance Learning: Meanings, types, and forms

Distance Education Resources: 10 free educational technology apps

Factors that influence a successful distance learning course study

Schools, higher education institutions, and online distance learning providers must drive a remote education system that places their administrators, teachers, IT leaders and team and other staff in a better position to make smarter decisions for their programs and deliver quality, accessible instruction for all students so as to meet their needs and interests.

These influential factors are worthy of consideration in promoting a successful distance learning program for the institution, the students, and the general society at large:

Students’ access to computer devices and the internet

Without unlimited access to computer devices (desktop computers, personal computers (PC) or laptops or tablets and smartphones) and the internet be it at home, school, or other learning centers, students cannot successfully have online or ‘offsite’ remote learning courses.

Schools, colleges, or higher education institutions providing Distance Learning Management System (DLMS) must ensure enough bandwidth to support their registered students during the course of their coursework.

Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the critical factors considered for a successful study online. It’s important to consider your work, family, and personal commitments and how an online degree would help, rather than hinder your present situation. Remote learning institutions should provide accessible, flexible, and credible degrees in order to attract a good number of learners.

Features of a flexible online higher education program or course
  1. The timeline (duration of the course) of a flexible online remote learning program should be extendable
  2. Flexible online courses should have specified weekly study time
  3. It should have module electives
  4. It should have a fixed time for virtual or synchronous learning sessions

Online remote education accommodation – Distance learning instructions must be tailored to meet the students’ needs, abilities, and aspirations

Online education providers must accommodate different categories of students in their program and not a particular level or set of students based on English language learning ability, abilities disabilities (SEND students), the level of technical skill, and the degree of at-home learning support for a successful distance education program.

Schools offering remote learning for students – primary, middle, secondary, high school, college, and higher education students must ensure that the students are conversant with or adapt to the mode of delivering the instructions. For example, providing instructions and feedback through emails on school websites or mailing activities or even posting or sending home paper packets may be convenient for primary school grades than online virtual electronic learning more suitable for secondary, high school, college, and higher education students.

Microsoft Teams, digital collaboration tools, and a part of the Microsoft 365 family of products., have an in-built accessibility support feature in it, like the Immersive Reader tool (which reads information aloud to students) and language translation features.

Supportive distance learning system for professional development

Having an online classroom experience that digitally and remotely supports professional development is another way of succeeding in a distance education course. An example of a supportive professional development resource is an online help desk available for teachers who need remote technical support.

Federal (or Central as the case may be), state and local education departments and other educational institutions in a country offer online webinars, provide videos and other resources for teachers who are on the lookout to get a crash course on teaching remotely.

Primary and secondary schools as well as colleges can partner with higher education institutions about training teachers for e-learning.

Online data privacy and internet security

Schools, higher education institutions, and online distance learning providers should guard against malware and spyware scams emanating from the use of the internet and online cyber-attacks as they are prone to a huge increase in phishing attempts due to increased involvement in the internet and web services.

For these reasons, remote education institutions should use their secured distance learning management system when handling student information; tighten security measures around email and mails, have an approved list of instructional resources for students and teachers, and strengthen cyber-hygiene practices.

Some IT professionals consider having single sign-on options on the Learning Management System LMS platform where the school’s IT teams can monitor student data and content filtering as sustainable internet security measures. The use of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and guides will help in securing the internet.

Interactivity and Engagement

Does the remote learning program use a cutting-edge platform with interactive and engaging content? Students’ online education experience should be intuitive, interactive, and engaging.

Online courses with too many PDFs and texts on a word document with little customization for a virtual learning environment might not be interactive and engaging enough to enroll in.

Ideas to a quality online course program can be gained from course webinar specialist sessions, watching video demos from a range of institutions as well as how online learning system works practically.

 

The importance and benefits of having a successful distance learning program

Does it benefit the student personally to have a successful distance learning program? What is the importance to the institution and/or the community? What benefits can the parties involved derive?

Distance education suits students learning styles, needs, and goals

Online distance programs can fit a student’s needs and interests. A student can be deemed to have a successful distance learning program if the program suits his learning styles, needs, and goals.

Remote education allows students to learn at their own pace

One of the importance of remote learning is that it encourages students who learn best alone to set and learn at their own pace (student’s learning style) that suits their personal schedule enabling them to spend more time on more difficult tasks than the easier ones as they study the course materials even though there is a likelihood of having weekly or other periodic deadlines.

Distance learning breaks education barriers

Distance education is beneficial to a student and offers an advantage of making his geographical distance from a school, college, or higher education institution or time barriers irrelevant.

Logging in to your computer device at home, camp, or any other location remotely to connect to your virtual classroom and learn conveniently means that you don’t have to be at a certain place at a certain time.

Distance learning benefits a student more than the course program (through improving study, technical, interpersonal, social and communication, computer, Internet skills)

Another benefit of distance education is that teaches our skills outside the knowledge or topics in the course material. Irrespective of the career pursued, distance learning can improve a student’s study, technical interpersonal, social and communication, computer, Internet skills.

Online distance education encourages diversity in learning

Online distance education encourages diversity in learning in the sense that a student’s peers, classmates, and coursemates come together from different backgrounds and places to have discussions and social interaction with a more diverse group of people than he would normally find in a traditional classroom on campus.

Distance learning is less costly than traditional in-person classroom instruction

One of the benefits of remote education is that it is generally less costly than traditional in-person classroom instruction and can make a student save money that would be incurred through care services, parking, transportation, fuel, and even inconvenience costs. This is of great importance to students because students and even parents are sensitive to cheap and free educational services. The tuition fees for distance learning courses and traditional on-campus education are usually comparable, however.

So, remote learning programs meet the needs of so many different people of all ages, genders, educational and professional backgrounds. They are also of great importance to the institutions of learning and offer some benefits to the host communities too.

 

Overcoming the problems and challenges of the electronic classroom learning

Can the problem and challenges of electronic classroom learning be overcome? Yes, of course. The problems and challenges facing distance learning are surmountable.  The suggested ways and strategies on how to overcome the problems and challenges of remote distance learning and make it more effective include:

  1. Establishment of the nature of learning early in the course with expected attitudes.
  2. Teachers and course instructors should introduce participants to each other, match them with partners, and assign members of group projects. This will help overcome the challenges of the text-based nature of online discussion and to build group connections, relationships, and cooperation.
  3. Just like a strategy or method, offering training and guidelines will help students and learners study effectively, acquire technical competence, use distance technologies and tools effectively, and manage social interactions and communications.
  4. Online distance providers can provide a variety of activities, such as debates, award-winning competitions in different subject-matters, questioning, reflection, and assessment and evaluation.
  5. Institutions and teachers can establish goals for participation in distance education through learning contracts.

 

Prospects and future of Distance Learning

What is the prospect of electronic learning (e-learning)? What future lies ahead of distance learning in the 21st-century world? Can it over the challenges facing remote learning in the future?

The prospect and future of distance learning whether it is applied as individualized learning or group networked learning community is the transformation of information into knowledge.

 

 

This blog post on ‘How to have a successful online distance learning program’ is categorized under Distance & Information Education

Our Distance & Information Education system is about creating and delivering impacting and empowering information to our amiable readers on the use of educational technology tools and solutions to achieve achieving better learning towards a sustainable future – Eduonwheels 

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