Who Are My eLearners?
Who are Your Learners?
eLearners come from an expansive background and often “every background”, because with eLearning you may have students of all nationalities and age groups. In the field of IT this is especially true, and not only that but the learners in my field come with a varying amount of motivation, IT background and goals.
It’s important to be aware of differences in skills, aptitude and overall goals. From experience you may find people who come to a particular program or institution may have similar goals, as many will often plan or do live and work in the same community. When we are speaking about the globalized world of e-Learning all of that gets thrown out of the window. You will have students of all ages, abilities, goals, and timezones at a minimum.
It can often be a simple discussion at the beginning of the class, and if you design a variety of activities and labs, you should be able to appeal and satisfy the vast majority of learners. This is especially crucial and relevant when it comes to eLearning, as I believe the scope, needs and variance is significantly higher in this space.
It is possible to have access to non-verbal messages when everyone has their webcam on. In my case, all of my students normally elect not to use a webcam for privacy reasons, which I respect. But there is definitely a barrier to myself as an instructor in being unable to read non-verbal cues. In fact, I would say I often learn more about my students thoughts and abilities from the non-verbal cues where I will read faces and body language. Yes you can ask the students if they have questions, but some will be hesitant to reply, for fear of feeling embarrassed in front of their peers, or perhaps not knowing where to even start asking.
To combat this you can create safe and thriving online eLearning community, but this is not a guarantee that you will get the information you need from your students. Instead you should rely on more electronic tools like Kahoot and interactive, active sessions that give you the information and data you need from your students. By doing online and interactive quizzing, and using tools like the Muddiest Point, you should be able to identify who is struggling. Reflecting on their completed (or lack of completion) assignments is an excellent way of evaluating if the student is progressing and can serve as an early warning system that a student is struggling.