Ideas for creating an interactive online learning experience.
Creating an Interactive 5 Points of the Star Learning Experience in the Online World
There are a number of ways to teach in the online world. Some programs are credit retrieval, others are expanded correspondence courses, and still others ask the student to do some thematic activities. Another exciting way to teach is to have teachers and students do highly interactive online/real-world learning experiences. This type of teaching allows us to do more than just teach using minimal learning experiences for our students. It gives us the opportunity to challenge students to learn the material by touching all levels of learning. In this type of learning environment it allows us to expect more of our students.
Here are some ideas on how to deliver this exciting type of learning and an overview of what some of the possibilities are in our learning in the 5 POINTS of the STAR blended and online learning environment, later posts will define each of these ideas in detail. In order to have the students become highly engaged in their own learning and take the time to be better students it is necessary to shift into a different paradigm of learning. It is important to create an educational setting that allows the student to explore and engage in multiple levels of learning. To create this type of student engagement in the online world a student should have five very highly interactive experiences: student-to-student, student-to-teacher, student-to-material, student-to-community, and student-to-technology. If an online program/class is able to build this type of learning experience the student will have one of the most exciting and memorable educational encounters of their career.
The best type of learning to develop each of these ideas is to have the student do some type of inquiry-based, project-based, or problem-based learning. These types of learning are not isolated classroom experiences but cross-curricular ones. For example, the work might be developed using a thematic structure that is organized and developed by the teaching staff and allows students to work toward their own projects or activities too. Combining the real-world resources, activities and the online experiences are some of the most valuable lessons a student can do. High to low-level students can master key interactive fundamentals if given the chance. Many times it is not bad to have cross-curricular themes for the younger students to work through in order to learn how to do the variety of learning projects.
It is an important part of interactive distance learning to ask students to actually master the content and do real-world activities. When a student must mentally, emotionally, and physically touch the material they learn the real skills that they will be able to use as a member of their academic and real-world future. If a student must use all of the academic disciplines to do their work and produce a product that has to be viewed, reviewed and restructured it forces them to learn all of the major academic skills they will use later in their lives.
If a school is built on these sound educational principles is will have one of the most robust learning communities in the online world. It is a type of learning that many students, teachers and administrators are not accustomed to and it does challenge our drill-and-kill mentality of education. In the next series of posts I will give some suggestions as to how to accomplish this task. I hope that the discussion that follows will begin to take all of us to the next level of online learning.