We are seeing a rapidly growing trend of using e-learning. Among institutions, businesses, and various social groups with different sets of shared interests. They are teaching or training members or employees via online learning management systems (LMS).
Now think about this scenario. An e-learning institute has raised its budget. And it has just rolled out a new set of online learning courses. The institute is very upbeat about the success of its new courses. These new courses are perfectly curated with the target learners in mind. So, the new learning materials are way more effective and will make its clients or participants mighty happy. But then comes the shocker!
The trainees or learners say these courses have a missing link. They make learning a tiresome one-way journey. They need direct and regular interactions with their trainer(s) and peers alike. Two-way communication is the key to clearing doubts and understanding the concepts. Of course, learners expect online learning to foster a satisfactory learning experience like classroom learning. In a classroom environment, learners can interact, collaborate, and take ownership of what they learn.
The online mode often offers on-demand training that leaves many-to-many interactions out of the equation. But reality demands that there are interactions among the group of trainees and instructor(s). Such interaction is critical to the learning of the group. Developing effective and collaborative online activities depends on certain key factors. Understanding how learners process information when online is one of those factors.
There are a few common barriers that hamper online learning. They are responsible for low-to-nil learner engagement with learning topics and material. The five Key barriers, with possible solutions, are:
- Low or no technology knowledge: Many online learners believe they do not have the necessary technical skills or background to learn or take part.
Solution: The key lies in making them feel at home even in the virtual environment. Offering online personalized help, including demos, via trainer-to-trainee and peer-to-peer online interactions is an effective solution.
- Limited learner or trainer feedback: Traditional classrooms or training rooms are used for real-time face-to-face feedback. But the online learning process suffers from low or no learner feedback.
Solution: Group video chats can make personalized feedback possible. This will positively impact learners, making the learning process engaging, enjoyable, and rich.
- Possibility of social isolation: In a typical online learning environment, the learners and trainers (or faculty members) spend a long time in isolation. They tend to feel lonely and socially detached. This happens due to the absence of interaction amongst the learners.
Solution: Increased interaction amongst peers, and instructors utilizing the blended learning environments, etc., can help combat this. The addition of an online learning community, alongside, can do the job.
- No face-to-face communication: The lack of face-to-face communication impedes learners’ feedback and a positive nudge. This is essential to make them move ahead to the desired learning outcomes. The lack of communication also causes a sense of social isolation.
Solution: An effective solution to this problem will be the community feature of a group chat application. That will enable HD audio or video chats, discussion boards, an explanatory whiteboard, and chatrooms. All of this will make a similar experience of communication and interaction during online learning sessions.
- Lack of self-motivation: This is one of the main factors why learners often drop out – do not complete online courses. Unlike the traditional classrooms or training rooms, online seldom presents any positive external factors which push participants toward their learning goals.
Solution: Integration of the community features can transform the online learning process with real-time group interactions. Face-to-face interaction with the trainer(s) and peer-to-peer activities can urge learners to engage even with the most challenging concepts and material. And perform well.
The importance of community features
As seen above, an online learning environment can be a lonely place and learning an arduous, one-way activity. When online, both learners and faculty members suffer isolation. This is where community features integrated into an online learning platform can play a powerful part.
We know a community achieves much more and far greater things than any individual. Building an online learning community empowers faculty and trainees alike. It motivates participants to achieve much more than traditional learning environments can.
That’s why you must consider building a learning community into your online course design. This way, your instructors come out of their traditional role and become true mentors who push participants to be active learners.
Reflective learning with a mentor and under peer pressure has proved helpful. In a classroom environment, sharing and committing to deadlines, promises, and goals motivate learners to achieve their learning goals effectively. An online learning community helps you achieve exactly that. It gives participants or learners a secure and helpful space to interact with each other. Not to just stay tuned and on track, but forge ahead as a group.
When someone in the group finds a concept or theory challenging to grasp, fellow learners step in to lend their support. Individual learners often get inspiration from their peers or colleagues. This causes the individual to stretch their effort and capacity to grasp things. The shared values of an online learning community motivate even the weak learners to raise their performance.
When community features are integrated into an online learning platform, learners can:
- Share and collaborate
- share their ideas, personal experiences, understanding of topics and modules, and unique perspectives with the rest of the group
- take risks and ask for help
- think critically about others’ viewpoints
- become open to fresh ideas
- develop a bonding with other learners at a human-to-human level
All great online learning platforms ensure that learning is not a boring, lonely effort. So, they incorporate a few community features. These features learners benefit in many ways. The Top 6 Benefits that community features bring to participants in an online learning environment are:
- Ease of participation — Engaging learners through online discussions with batch mates to video chats with faculty, online learning platforms make it a joy for them to participate, learn, and share.
- Comfort of communication — Some learners feel uneasy speaking in a group or in front of others. But they do not need communication skills while speaking in the community environment from the comfort of home.
- Brainstorming together — The community feature, powered by just a simple group chat plugin, makes it most exciting for participants. Sharing ideas and brainstorming makes engagement stimulating.
- Voice and video calls: One of the top community features presents learners with the power of HD audio-video calling and conferencing options. To get on a reliable connection quickly and easily.
- Multilingual integration: Real-time translation is another great community feature. Participants in the online learning community can chat with a faculty or a peer speaking a language different from theirs.
- Screen-share, whiteboard, and more: Most top learning communities enable participants to engage and collaborate in real-time. Enable them to share their screens and use the power of whiteboards.
The might of a simple chat plugin
Just by adding a useful chat plugin such as AtomChat you can transform your online learning platform. It will empower your learning environment with powerful community features. A good group chat has all the necessary killer features and functionalities that instructors, as well as learners, find extremely relevant. It can help you create a top-notch online learning community platform and scale it up easily. It can be cost-effective too.
Integrate an easy-to-install and easy-to-use chat plugin. With that, you can create an exciting online learning community on your platform. Customize the group chat in terms of theme and functionality. Give role-based access to your learners to have control over what is being shared. With this simple move, you can make online sharing of ideas, knowledge, and experiences, and learning super easy, interactive, and engaging for all – the trainer(s), the learner moderator, and other learners. If you are serious about your online learning platform, this is absolutely vital for its growth and success.
The online learning environment can be a lonely place. Lack of interactivity can also make it look like a one-way journey. That is where the online community features can play an important role. We know that a community can achieve much more than an individual. Collaborative e-learning activities offer many benefits to both parties – learners and instructors.
The community features can easily enable collaboration in an e-learning environment. These features can help you turn your learning platform into a vibrant online community of learners. Community features help your online learning platform achieve the desired objectives with ease. They enable effective collaboration and provide a rewarding learning experience to learners. Therefore, incorporate community features into your learning platform and unleash the limitless creativity of your learners.
Building an online learning community empowers trainers and learners alike. It helps motivate participants to achieve more than traditional online learning environments can. The shared values of an online learning community motivate even the weakest learners to perform better. So, why delay? Get the most effective and popular community plugin today and transform your online learning in no time.