Be a better online educator by thinking like an online student

I have often thought, and said, that to be better at something you must first think like someone sat in your audience.

How many times have you given a presentation and thought mid-way through “are they still with me?”. If you’d planned the presentation properly in the first place then you’ve never had this feeling (well done). If you have felt this then can you honestly say you put yourself in the audience when you were planning it, and did you think “is this too much?” or “is this relevant?”.

What about when your audience isn’t sat in front of you, they’re online and working/learning asynchronously? You don’t get any immediate feedback from facial expressions. The most feedback we usually get is if someone takes the time to say that something doesn’t make sense or even low scores on the assessment could mean the students didn’t understand the subject.

Always, always think like one of your students. I read this post on the eLearn Magazine blog: “Be a Better Online Student“, which is what made me think that it’s fine to plan to be a better student (if the student thinks they need to be better), but can we, the educators, help them be better students without them realising it. The answer is yes, and this requires us to plan the learning materials, plan the delivery pattern, plan the activities, and plan the assessment in a way that encourages and engages them.

But surely we should be doing this already?

Oh, and Happy New Year! Welcome to 2010.