There is so much talk about what makes online learning successful, one of the often-forgotten topics is making sure that your learners are also prepared and well-equipped for online learning or e-learning.

What is e-learning?

According to Learn Upon, e-learning is the delivery of learning and training through digital resources. It is training, learning, or education delivered online through a computer or any other digital device.

Flexibility and convenience are the key benefits of e-learning. But e-learning is a lot more challenging than it may seem.

How does one prepare to engage in e-learning and become successful in it?

1. Explain the online integration into other forms of instruction
When you have a combination of face-to-face instruction, online learning, e-learning, etc, it is important for learners to understand how all the learning activities fit together and how they work together to help them achieve the learning objectives.

Having a well-laid out plan or learning journey and presenting this plan to the learners is a good way to achieve this.

2. Provide an orientation activity

Having an orientation activity before the learners start their e-learning journey allows:

  • a non-threatening activity to help the learners get used to the software
  • helps to build the sense of an online learning community
  • the teacher get to know the learners better.

3. Provide clear instructions
According to the University of New South Wales, clear instructions must include the following:

  • a basic description of the task
  • how it relates to the course learning outcomes
  • how it relates to program’s graduate attributes
  • what exactly the students need to do
  • how long they have to do it in, with firm deadlines
  • the assessment weighting, where applicable
  • what to do if they have difficulties completing or submitting the task.

4. Set netiquette expectations
Netiquette or Internet etiquette is how to behave in the online space. Clearly set these expectations so that learners know their boundaries and act accordingly within the e-learning environment.

5. Explain workload expectations
Be very clear about what the learning journey looks like, including expected outputs, time allotted, and next steps to take after completing the e-learning.

6. Provide support
Provide support in the form of peer coaches, technical support, and teacher availability for consultation in order to make sure that the learners are not left totally alone. Also provide additional resources that the learners can access to support their learning.

Here are skills that a learner must have in order to be successful in e-learning.

1. Persistence

Learners who are successful the ones who are willing to tolerate technical problems, seek help when needed, work daily on every class, and persist through challenges.

2. Time Management Skills

The flexibility that e-learning allows is that you can take the course anytime you want, that is why you must be able to manage your time well enough to complete all the tasks assigned in a timely manner.

3. Communication Skills

Communication skills are necessary e-learning because learners must ask for help when they need it. This might in the form of emails to the teachers or co-learners, posting questions in a common online forum or community, or even texting your teacher or co-learners.

4. Technical Skills

Learners must have basic technical skills to be able to navigate through the e-learning. Since it is self-paced, you will be taking it on your own, with no help from anyone. That means having to troubleshoot basic problems that might occur.

5. Reading and Writing Skills

Reading and writing are the main ways you will communicate in an online class.

6. Motivation and Independence

You will want to succeed in self-paced learning in order to succeed. You will have to motivate yourself to complete the courses in a timely manner and learn as much as you can from them.

7. Good study environment

A good study environment includes a quiet and peaceful place that is conducive to learning. Avoid distractions such as other tasks, digital devices, and surfing the Internet.

With these tips, you are now sure to be able to prepare learners for e-learning.

Remember, no matter how sophisticated your system is or how updated your content is, if your learner is not ready to take in the content, learning will not be a success.

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