5 Easy Ways Online Learning Can Enhance Traditional Courses

Written by
Lizzie Davey
Jun 08, 2016

As we move into a world that’s increasingly taking itself online, traditional forms of learning are having to adapt to the new landscape.

More and more traditional courses (the kind which require in-person attendance) are changing to a blended structure that combines elements of both traditional learning formats and online courses. This means learners can still get face-to-face time with tutors and fellow students while having the freedom to learn in a way that suits them.

We only have to look at some recent statistics from Vanderbilt to see how much of an impact online courses are having on the traditional learning landscape. 32% of higher education students now take at least one course online, while the number of institutions offering entire online courses has increased from 48.9% to 70.6% over the past 10 years.

What’s more, 77% of academic leaders believe the results garnered from online courses are on par or better than those form traditional courses.

So, with all the evidence pointing towards a blended educational future, how can you incorporate online elements into your traditional courses?

Ways to Incorporate Online Learning Elements into Traditional Courses

1. Highlight the Basics

Let’s face it: a lot of in-person classroom time is spent discussing the basics of a topic until learners get the hang of it. The beauty of online courses mean you can encourage students to learn the basics in their own time via online modules, leaving you time to dig deeper into topics during face-to-face teaching time.

Incorporate it: Create online lessons for basic topics, like quizzes and interactive elements to help learners get the hang of it, and then focus on deeper issues during in-class time.

2. Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is a huge part of online learning. It allows students to become active participants in their learning process and encourages them discover the ways in which they learn best by using multi-media elements (which we’ll discuss in a bit) and incorporating their background and interests into lessons.

Learners are increasingly becoming aware of their own knowledge and how they best soak up new information, and interactive, online learning really taps into this.

Incorporate it: Create learner journeys through online elements, giving students choices between different media and different lesson topics. They can tack on modules and tasks that are based around in-person lessons to get a deeper understanding of a topic.

3. Collaboration and Interaction

Collaboration and interaction are the keys to a happy and successful learning journey. While you might think the chances of collaboration and interaction might be higher in a traditional classroom setting, online courses actually provide endless opportunities to collaborate.

Allowing students to discuss topics in designated forums, providing quick quizzes and the chance to self-assess can all help learners stay engaged with the material.

Incorporate it: Employ these tactics in your traditional courses by adding group work, forums, and interactive elements like quizzes, games, and tests into the content.

4. Flexibility

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of online learning is the fact that it’s so flexible for both students and teachers. By placing modules and content online, it’s accessible to learners all over the world and can be accessed at any time throughout the learner’s busy schedule.

With traditional learning, the ability to be flexible with courses is a lot harder. The teacher needs to be there, there has to be a classroom rented out, and students have to all turn up at the same time, regardless of other commitments they might have going on.

The beauty of online learning is that students can dig into material at a time that suits them – either when they work best or around other commitments.

Incorporate it: Introduce flexible timetables to your traditional courses, or give learners the chance to pick and choose what they study and when. Adding in additional online elements can give students the chance to dig into content at a time that suits them, increasing their engagement with the course and producing better results.

5. Multi-Media Content

Traditional courses are pretty limited in the kinds of content they can offer. Usually, modules are presented through seminar-style sittings, with a presentation and a lecture from the tutor.

With online learning, the possibilities are endless. This is great because students all learn in different ways. Introducing online elements to your courses mean you can supply different types of content that resonates with different types of learners, and can increase engagement with videos, text-based lessons, quizzes, games, and discussions.

Incorporate it: In addition to in-person classes, add in additional elements to enhance the lesson in a range of media – you might include a video, host a discussion, or create a quick quiz to put online.

Bridging the gap between traditional courses and online learning doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be fun and rewarding when you start to see the increase in results and the increased engagement of your students.

All you need to do is:

  • Use online modules to highlight the basics
  • Create lessons that are personalized
  • Introduce collaborative and interactive elements
  • Make your courses more flexible, both in timings and content
  • Add a range of different media

Are you ready to start adding the benefits of online learning to your traditional course? Mapout can help you!

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