5 Advantages Of Creating Your First Self-Paced Course

How do you the address the growing popularity of remote classes and take advantage of the opportunity they present? How big a change is this for you from what you do currently? Let us talk about creating your first self-paced course.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

3 Ways To Make Sure Your Employees Care For Self-Paced Learning

When developing courses for experienced learners, it is important to keep in mind what motivates them to invest their time in learning. So, if you want a positive response to your online courses, it pays to design and promote courses keeping in mind adult learning principles. This is how to get the employees of your organization to care for self-paced learning.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Conquering The Isolation Of The Online Classroom

How To Conquer The Isolation Of The Online Classroom 

Many feel a major benefit of working in the online learning environment, whether as a student or an instructor, is the flexibility that you can work or study from anywhere at any time. However, that benefit is a two-edged sword. It can lead to one of online’s greatest drawbacks: Isolation. Being in different areas and time zones across the country (or the world), it can be easy for instructors or students to feel they are on their own, rather than part of a community and drawing from that strength. This is especially true in the asynchronous classroom environment. How can teachers make their online classroom more of a learning community? How can telecommuting faculty develop a sense of comradery with their peers?

Students

  1. Icebreakers.
    One of the keys to developing a community of learners is to let them get to know each other as more than just avatar images. The first day of class, an ice breaker exercise can not only help the class to get sharing, but draw out those students who aren’t comfortable giving a “biography”. An ice breaker I use in my English class is “your beautiful state/country”. I challenge students to describe their state in the U.S. (or their country if outside the U.S.) using their five senses. What are its tastes, smells, sights, sounds, and feel? This gets the students thinking. (Usually, the most difficult is “smell”. I’ve found out that North Carolina smells like hay and tractor oil and Wisconsin like cheese and beer!). The virtual classroom seems a little smaller as the class, including myself, share having visited each other’s state, having eaten or made local dishes (like Philly Cheese steak or Louisiana Jambalaya) or having an interest in travelling to certain states. The students start to interact in a non-threatening way. There are many different ice breakers that can be done. Other ideas for online ice breakers (for both asynchronous and synchronous online classrooms) can be found at Teaching With Technology – Ice Breaker Ideas.
  2. More than discussion posts.
    Also, when students are involved in a challenge, even against each other, they develop a comradery. This is where gamification comes into the classroom. I do some exercises in my writing classes that break out of the usual discussion question mode. Here are two examples:

    • The Great Homonym Challenge.
      In this challenge, students have a week to come up with as many homonyms as they can (without using the internet or any source but their brains). They are allowed to team up with family, friends, or co-workers to do it and share who their “teams” were when they post their lists. Since the students are usually going to school to earn a degree to improve their lives and the lives of their children, this exercise can allow the children into that process. As the students share who their teams were and the words they listed, the classroom starts to feel like less of an isolated place and more like an interactive environment. At the end of the challenge, I do a virtual trophy presentation (via PowerPoint) which brings me into the exercise mix.
    • Scavenger Hunt.
      Another challenge I do is to have students practice citing sources by doing a scavenger hunt for information. In my classes, I give them history trivia questions. Each person takes one question and has to post not only the answer, but cite where he or she found it. The students have to pull together to finish the hunt.

Student response to my exercises has been that is makes them feel like they are together in a traditional classroom setting. Various disciplines can take exercises, like a scavenger hunt, and bring them into the online classroom to not only form a sense of community, but to engage learners.

Instructors

Not only do instructors need to feel a part of their classroom community, but they need to feel like a part of an instructional community, too. Although online schools have online instructors’ meetings or training that can bring teachers together, most class weeks  it can be easy for an instructor to feel like it is he or she and the students and that’s it. However, networking and technology can help that in many ways. Most faculty do meet others during online school events. Stay connected. While it is true that there is no teachers’ lounge or cafeteria online, it doesn’t mean online instructors can’t go for virtual coffee breaks or lunch. By coordinating a time that fits among time zones, faculty can meet online (IM, Skype, etc.) for some valuable break time to informally talk about common issues they see in the classroom or just to share how the day is going. In addition, sharing photos of where they live or of pets or family, can add to the “break time” atmosphere and bonding. Shared interests can be discovered which can help when looking for a partner for a professional paper or project or when looking to find small group interests. Small group activities can be conducted online. A colleague of mine is interested in meditation and reflection. She shared, in segments, a 30 day program for all those interested in trying it. Participants communicated back and forth online about their progress.  Participating in activities, academic or other, can be done asynchronously and still aid in forming a teaching community.

Online education doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. Using some creativity and organization, communities of learners and instructors can form, just as they would in a brick and mortar school.   These relationships can offer support and new insights and make for a richer educational experience for everyone. Suddenly, online learning doesn’t seem like such a small world.

Resources:

Donne, J. (n.d.) No man is an island. Poet Hunters. Retrieved from http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/no-man-is-an-island/

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Asynchronous Learning Advantages And Disadvantages In Corporate Training

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Asynchronous Learning In Corporate Training

Offering the employees control over their online training experience is often a priority for eLearning professionals when designing and developing online training courses. This is exactly what asynchronous learning does; it allows employees to learn at their own pace by giving them full responsibility of learning and the power to attend only when it is convenient for them. It really sounds fantastic. Synchronous learning techniques, on the other hand, may simulate the traditional classroom experience more successfully, but the truth is that the average modern learner leads a busy life; more often than not, aligning a busy schedule with the synchronous learning requirements is quite challenging. Asynchronous learning respects factors affecting regular attendance to online training courses and ensures that they are accessed and completed at different times for each employee, improving learning outcomes. But are there any drawbacks of the asynchronous learning method? In this article, I'll share 5 advantages and 5 disadvantages of asynchronous learning in order to help you determine when you should use it for your online training deliverable and when you should not.

5 Asynchronous Learning Advantages

  1. Offers employees complete control over their learning.
    As a learner-centered method, asynchronous learning gives employees full responsibility of their online training experience. This means that everyone is allowed to decide how, when, and where to learn. Furthermore, not only distance but also time barriers are eliminated, and thus, as employee-trainer interaction takes place according to personal schedules, there is more potential for personalized guidance and attention from online facilitators or trainers.
  2. Respectful to one’s own learning pace.
    Asynchronous learning gives employees time to reflect on what they are learning before answering questions or joining online discussions. As not all employees absorb the online training material in the same way, an asynchronous learning solution can benefit even employees with poor learning skills by offering them the ability to take their time to complete responses and develop their critical thinking skills.
  3. Convenient.
    Asynchronous learning is the ideal learning solution for adults with busy schedules, as it doesn’t require employees to be online at a specific day or time. Employees can communicate with their online facilitator or virtual classmates at their own convenience and instantly have access to information, online training assignments, and other online resources.
  4. Less social obstacles.
    While online interaction and collaboration are proven to enhance the online training experience, the truth is that there are many employees out there who don’t enjoy socializing and feel uncomfortable about the idea of participating in online discussions, where their more dominating peers have the greatest impact upon the virtual classroom. An asynchronous learning approach helps introverted learners eliminate social anxiety, as learning in isolation makes them feel safer and more comfortable.
  5. Interactive regardless of location and time barriers.
    Asynchronous learning methods allow employees not only to learn at their own pace, but also to interact with their peers and online facilitator no matter which the time zone they live in is. Discussion boards, blogs, and emails are always available to ensure that online interaction is effective, online collaboration for group projects is possible, and conversation takes place over distance and place.

5 Asynchronous Learning Disadvantages 

  1. Lacks instant feedback.
    Feedback in eLearning
     is essential, as it helps both employees and trainers address issues and misunderstandings related to the online training course material. And, of course, the quicker the feedback is received, the sooner can the employees get back on the right learning track. In an asynchronous learning environment instant feedback is impossible, as the online training course is not live and employees may waste valuable time waiting for their questions to be answered by their trainers or even their peers.
  2. Lacks personal interaction.
    Personal interaction among participants is eliminated in the asynchronous learning context, and the lack of a more “human” atmosphere disconnects employees not only from their peers, but, interestingly enough, from the online training material itself; not feeling part of a learning environment can make employees see the online training course as a burden. Learning in isolation may work for some, but it certainly does not work for most people who need personal interaction in order to maintain or even increase their motivation levels. All in all, not being able to personally interact with other people can lead to failure to achieve the learning goals and outcomes of the online training course.
  3. No live collaboration and real time activities.
    Learning at one’s own pace also means waiting for others to respond, often for long periods of time. Asynchronous learning doesn’t offer the ability for real time discussions and live collaboration, both of which are proven to increase motivation and engagement. Furthermore, overall communication between collaborators can be difficult due to the general sense of being isolated and “disconnected”.
  4. Can cause lack of motivation.
    Lack of live interaction can disengage and demotivate employees, who may need encouragement and stimulation in order to log in, read the material, and complete the online training course. In fact, procrastination is more likely to occur in an asynchronous learning environment than in any other online learning environment. Personal interaction helps employees maintain their interest, whereas isolation rarely boosts motivation.
  5. Requires self-discipline.
    Finally, asynchronous learning asks from participants to be focused, goal oriented, and with great time management skills. Success in an asynchronous learning environment requires of employees to be both strongly committed and disciplined, which can be a huge disadvantage for those who are not exactly highly self-motivated.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of asynchronous learning can help you determine whether it is ideal for your future online training plans. There is no doubt that asynchronous learning can be incredibly beneficial, but there are certainly some cons to consider before following a pure asynchronous learning approach.

However, there are certainly some ways in which you can achieve success in developing effective asynchronous learning programs: Read the article 6 Tips For Creating Engaging Asynchronous Online Training Courses and discover 6 tips for asynchronous online training that can help you develop engaging, exciting, and memorable online training courses.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Learning: Can You Tell the Difference?

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Learning: How To Integrate Them Into Your eLearning Course Design

Synchronous learning happens in real time. The learners typically log on to an eLearning platform, such as a web conferencing or webinar tool, and engage with the instructor and peers. This can even come in the form of an online chat room where learners gather at a specific time and date to broaden their understanding of the topic. It is an ideal option for distracted or unmotivated learners who need a more collaborative online experience, as well as self-guided learners who require a higher level of support or direction.

This is the exact opposite of asynchronous learning, which can occur at any time. Learners are able to complete modules whenever they like, regardless of whether other members of the online class are logged on. They are given the tools and information they need, but must decide when and how they will use these online resources to achieve their learning goals. With that being said, there are usually deadlines and schedules that a learner must follow. For example, they may have to turn in their online assignments by the end of each month or have to participate in at least one online discussion per week. Asynchronous learning courses often have a common space where learners can post questions, turn in online assignments, or engage in eLearning activities.

4 Tips For Designing A Successful Asynchronous Learning Strategy

  1. Variety is key.
    Integrating a wide range of online activities and exercises not only avoids dreaded learner boredom, but it also caters to a broad range of learning preferences and styles. For example, offering a text-only online course might exclude learners who prefer to learn via eLearning videos and simulations. This is why it’s essential to include a good mix of learning materials into your asynchronous learning strategy. Bear in mind that self-guided learners are more likely to disengage from the eLearning experience if the online course fails to grab and hold their interest.
  2. Develop a solid support structure.
    One of the downfalls of asynchronous learning is that it lacks face-to-face instruction. As such, you must have a solid support system in place to assist those who need additional help with the subject matter, or even the learning management system. If they encounter a glitch or cannot log in to the eLearning platform, they should always have a way to get in touch with someone who can offer assistance.
  3. Create a collaborative online community.
    Self-guided learners who are participating in asynchronous learning experiences run the risk of feeling isolated. They are not engaging in real-time discussions on a regular basis. Thus, they are not able to collaborate with their peers and benefit from their experience as often. To alleviate this, consider building an online community, such as a forum or blog, where learners can meet and share their ideas, concerns, and questions. You might even want to think about developing online exercises that require learners to team up, via web-based project management platforms, to complete the online assignment or solve a common challenge.
  4. Make it easily digestible.
    Your asynchronous learners are probably going to be accessing learning materials on-the-go. Therefore, you need to make the modules bite-sized, so that they can get the info they need as quickly as possible. This also gives them the ability to pause once they’ve completed a module and then pick up where they left off at a later time. Digestible learning materials help to avoid cognitive overload, as well, which is always a plus. Be sure to include a course map that allows learners to track their progress and quickly view which module is up next.

3 Tips For Designing A Successful Synchronous Learning Strategy

  1. Set the tone.
    The key to an effective synchronous learning course is creating the ideal learning environment. Since your learners are going to be participating in a real time discussion or online presentation, you need to have their full attention; this means removing all distractions from the room when they are accessing the eLearning course, and setting aside enough time in their schedule to sit in for the entire online discussion. Make them aware of the expectations well in advance so that they know how to prepare for the event.
  2. Don’t overload learners with text.
    Only include text for the key takeaways of the online presentation. Don’t overload their mental processes by writing out your eLearning script word for word on the screen, or giving them text passages for each story that you share. The only exception to this rule is, of course, when you have hearing impaired learners in your audience. If this is the case, then you may want to consider adding optional subtitles that can be turned on or off during the event.
  3. Create a flexible schedule.
    Unlike asynchronous learning, synchronous learning courses typically stick to a schedule. However, this doesn’t mean that learners should have to put their lives on hold in order to participate in a virtual discussion. Try to make the schedule as flexible as possible, and record your online events so that absent learners can still get the information they need at a later time. Before you begin the eLearning course, conduct a survey to figure out the best days and times for your learners, so that you can create a schedule that works for them. Also, keep their busy personal and professional lives in mind when creating the deadlines for online assignments and eLearning assessments.

To determine which approach is right for your learning goals and objectives, as well as your audience, conduct surveys, focus groups, and needs evaluation analysis before you begin developing your curriculum. If you’re still on the fence about whether an asynchronous or synchronous strategy is ideal for your learners, you may want to think about utilizing a blended learning approach that offers the best of both worlds.

Looking for an affordable way to reach out to online learners and boost peer-to-peer collaboration? Read the article 6 Tips To Use Google Hangouts For Synchronous Learning to discover how you can use FREE Google Hangouts in your synchronous learning strategy.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Use Self-Paced Learning To Enhance The Learning Experience Of Employees, Customers And Channel Partners

How Self-Paced Learning Can Enhance The Learning Experience Of Employees, Customers And Channel Partners

  1. Convenience.
    When it comes to corporate eLearning, learners, be it employees or customers, always find it hard to strike a balance between work and training. Sometimes, they find it difficult to attend scheduled training programs due to overlapping work priorities. However, with self-paced learning people can learn anytime and from anywhere, whether they are travelling or at home. The convenience offered by self-paced learning enables more people to attend training programs, and reduces the drop out ratio.
  2. Cost effectiveness.
    Virtual or classroom training involves different costs such as fees for instructors, costs related to venues in the case of classroom training or technology costs in the case of virtual training. On the contrary, self-paced learning does not involve any of these costs and thus it is highly cost effective.
  3. Suited for all types of learning styles/needs.
    Different people have different learning styles. Some people prefer to go through the same learning content multiple times, and thus require more time for completing a course. Whereas some people get done with a course very fast. Likewise, the learning and comprehension capacity of every individual is different. Self-paced learning is suited for all types of learners. Learners who want to finish a course fast don’t have to wait for others; whereas learners who need more time to grasp the content can do it at their own pace.
  4. No scheduling issues.
    Scheduling is one of the major challenges for any learning program, especially courses that involve a large number of people. Self-paced learning takes scheduling related issues, such as rescheduling and cancellations, out of the equation. Learning managers have to simply launch a program and set a deadline for course completion.
  5. Helps in building a solid base.
    Similar to virtual and classroom learning, self-paced learning has assessments and quizzes at the end of each module. Through these assessments, learners can evaluate their understanding of the concepts. If any knowledge gaps exist, learners can review the content again till they have a solid understanding of the content. This kind of flexibility is not available in virtual/classroom learning. Also, in a classroom environment, sometimes students, especially introverts, hesitate to raise their doubts in front of others. However, in self-paced learning, learners can freely ask questions through mediums such as online chat or online messaging.
  6. Improves ownership.
    By its inherent nature, self-paced learning puts the onus of learning on the learners. This way there is greater ownership on learners, which forces them to have more internal motivation as well as better organize their own time.
  7. Greater focus.
    In a classroom environment, there are chances of students getting distracted. In real classrooms, these distractions could be caused by peers and in virtual classrooms these distractions could be due to family members/friends. However, with self-paced learning students generally learn only at a time where there are no distractions, which leads to effective learning.
  8. Good for permanent content.
    All organizations have some training content that’s permanent and that needs to be distributed to a lot of people. Common examples include company policies or standard training manuals. Self-paced learning is good for permanent content, because it eliminates the need of live facilitators and scheduling-related coordination.
  9. Ensures quicker adoption of products.
    In the case of customers and channel partners, self-paced learning ensures faster adoption of new products. As opposed to traditional learning, where you need to schedule a sizeable batch of customers or channel partners to demonstrate new products, self-paced learning helps them get started instantly. In the case of new products, these time savings are immensely valuable because you can get feedback faster and thus make improvements, if any, more quickly.

Concluding, self-paced learning offers numerous advantages to organizations, whether they are providing training to their employees, their customers or their channel partners.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

7 Tips On How To Use Forums In eLearning

How To Use Forums In eLearning

Over 3 billion people actively use the internet, which is almost half of the world’s population, and roughly 70% have a social media account. This speaks volumes about social interactions in our tech-centric world. More and more people are turning to the internet to reach out to stay updated and in-touch. As eLearning professionals, we have the opportunity to tap into this need for virtual interaction by using online forums in our eLearning course design. Here are some top tips for using forums in eLearning experiences.

  1. Choose the ideal platform.
    Before you begin developing your instructional strategy in order to include forums in eLearning, you will have to decide which online forum you are going to use. If you want to post articles then ask your learners to comment on the posts, or even create posts of their own, then a blog may be the answer. On the other hand, if you want to stick to shorter responses and have more control over the online discussions, then a threaded message board could be the ideal solution. When choosing an online platform, think about the learning objectives of the eLearning course and the needs of your audience. If they are a bit reluctant to join the online discussion, consider a social media platform that they are already familiar with. For example, you can create Google, LinkedIn, or Facebook groups and invite your learners to become members.
  2. Set the ground rules beforehand.
    They key to running successful forums in eLearning is setting expectations and guidelines in advance. Learners must know their role in the online forums, as well as how they should behave when interacting with their peers. How often are they expected to post and who will be given access to the thread? Can they start their own discussion by creating a new post? Will the instructor need to check-in on the online discussion from time to time, or are you handing the reigns over to your learners? Also, let them know what is appropriate and what the consequences are for posting disrespectful commentary.
  3. Plant the idea then watch it grow.
    Forums give your audience a place to share their ideas and explore the subject matter outside of the traditional eLearning environment. As such, the facilitator’s presence should be minimal if you are trying to encourage peer-based collaboration. Guide the online discussion by posting a question, thought, or idea, then let them take over. Monitor the conversation to ensure that it stays on-topic, but give your learners the opportunity to share their skills and insights with each other without interruption. When you feel as though the current idea has been thoroughly examined, post a new idea to get the online discussion flowing again.
  4. Create smaller groups for reluctant learners.
    Even though many learners use technology on a daily basis, some of them may still be reluctant to share their thoughts and experiences in a public forum. In these cases, it may be beneficial to divide the class into smaller groups of 5 to 10 learners and only allow members of the group to see the discussion thread. This encourage hesitant learners to engage in the online discussion without feeling as though they are being judged, which leads to more active participation overall. If you notice that specific learners are still not interacting with their peers on the forum, then reach out to them privately and address their concerns.
  5. Link to interactive resources.
    Online forums typically lack that all-important multimedia element. However, you can add that in by including links to YouTube videos, articles, and online scenarios, that will engage and inspire your learners. You can also link back to learning materials you’ve created, such as a page within the eLearning course or an eLearning assessment, so that your learners can refresh their memory and test their progress. Just make sure that the links you provide are relevant to the conversation. If not, then create a new thread where they can share their thoughts about the multimedia presentation of the eLearning course material. This helps to keep each thread focused and avoids any confusion.
  6. Create a posting schedule.
    Many autonomous learners may procrastinate about posting if they aren’t given an online forum schedule. For example, you can ask them to create at least one post or comment by every Sunday. Keep in mind that online learners have to fit this online learning activity into their training schedule. So, give them ample time to post and give a virtual nudge to those who haven’t posted by the end of the week. It may be wise to give them a schedule in advance and let them know what you’ll be discussing each week. This gives them the chance to work the posts into their schedule, as well as brainstorm their ideas for the specific topics.
  7. Know the many uses of online forums.
    Online forums aren’t just for peer-to-peer discussion. They can also provide learners with the support they need from their instructors or tutors, and keep them up-to-date with the latest news about the online course. For example, if you need to change the time of the upcoming live event, simply login to the forum and post a notification. Do some brainstorming to figure out how online forums can make your eLearning course more immersive and interactive for your audience.

Forums in eLearning give learners the opportunity to connect with their peers and receive invaluable feedback. They are particularly useful for learners who lack motivation or are easily distracted, as they keep them immersed in the educational experience and cater to a wide range of learning styles.

Now that you know how to use forums in eLearning, check out the article 10 Netiquette Tips For Online Discussions to find out how online discussions contribute to your critical thinking, as well as 10 top netiquette tips for participating in online discussions.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Peer Coaching Builds Community And Improves Writing Skills In Online Courses

How Peer Coaching Helps To Build Community And Improve Writing Skills In Online Courses

Writing assignments handled in the traditional way go like this: the instructor helps the student select the topic, the student submits the completed paper, and the instructor comments on and grades the paper. Most students look at the comments and grade for a just few moments and that ends the learning process. Research shows that minimal learning occurs this way.

In my experience, the quality of  research papers increases dramatically by introducing  peer coaching, a process by which students are paired  to coach, encourage, and support each other. Both the student writing the paper and peer coach are graded on their participation.

The Practice Of Revision

The primary purpose of peer coaching is to teach students to continually revise their writing. Revision literally means to “see again”. I encourage students to look at their work from a fresh, critical perspective and rethink their papers. This ongoing process enables them to reconsider their arguments, review their evidence, polish their presentation, and refresh lackluster style.

Revision is much more than fixing the commas and spelling; it provides multiple opportunities to rework, rewrite, and perfect. I love to share with students that Hemingway rewrote the last page of A Farewell to Arms 39 times.

Students learn to appreciate the value of refining their written work through the process of peer assessment and revision. In addition to improving writing, it encourages them to support and empower each other. This has proven to be a powerful tool in promoting community and communication throughout the course. Here’s how it works:

Step 1. The student produces an initial draft.

The instructor first helps the student identify a manageable topic and provides both student and peer coach (another student in the class) with the assessment rubrics.

Step 2. Student sends initial draft to the peer coach.

The student submits their first draft to the peer coach, rather than the instructor. The peer coach can help the student by brainstorming the content, providing honest feedback, and assessing the organization of the first draft. Feedback needs to be meaningful and go well beyond “You did a nice job”.

The peer coach gives the student recommended revisions based upon a rubric. The coach also sends a copy to the instructor for a grade on the coaching effort.

Step 3. Student revises the initial draft based upon the peer coach’s suggestions.

The student author then revises the paper based upon the peer coach’s recommendations. I recommend that students read the second draft out loud. This is an easy way to see if the words flow smoothly.

Step 4. Student sends the second draft to the instructor.

The second draft is then submitted with the peer assessment to the online instructor, who attaches suggestions and comments and then returns it to the student without a final grade. I indicate to the student what my initial evaluation or grade would be in order to give them an idea of how much work they need to do in their final revision.

Step 5. Student produces the final draft.

The student then produces the final draft, which is submitted for a grade. The peer coach also receives a grade for the quality of their assessment. This is more work than students are used to, but demonstrates the value of the revision process as a way to dramatically improve writing.

Step 6. Evaluation and final grade by the instructor.

More comments are provided on the final paper. A critical ingredient is providing students with the feedback necessary to enable them to improve their work.

Cementing Good Writing Skills

The student gets much more than a grade with this process. He or she learns the value of refining and revising their written work through the process of peer assessment and revision. I encourage students to consider a similar process for future writing assignments. They can ask a trusted friend or colleague to read their work and give them candid feedback.

Peer coaching is a great opportunity to develop the online course community and encourage collaborative learning. It takes the entire semester to fully implement the approach due to the amount of time needed for the back and forth between the instructor, the student writing the paper, and the peer coach. I also assign a high point value to the exercise -as high as 20 to 30 percent of the course grade- to stress the significance of the assignment.

Resources For Educators

The first time I used this approach was for research papers in the online environment of a very urban campus, New Jersey City University, where it significantly improved the writing skills of a very diverse student body hailing from almost every corner of the planet. I found that it worked equally as well when used in 100 and 200 level courses at community colleges with a more homogeneous student body. I have since routinely used this approach with a variety of online institutions, including teaching deployed soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan for American Military University.

Peer coaching is a great example of learner-centric teaching and collaborative learning, and improves the community experience, especially in the online course environment.

Here is a list of web resources that I found to be useful for teaching students to improve their writing through peer coaching:

  1. Purdue’s Open Writing Laboratory for APA (American Psychological Association) formatting and style guide.
  2. The Son of Citation Machine helps students properly cite references, and will be a valuable resource long after the course concludes.
  3. Lycoming College’s Plagiarism Goblin Game. It provides a fun interactive way to become aware of plagiarism and how to avoid it.
  4. The instructor can use Turnitin.com or simply copy and paste suspicious writing portions into Google for some additional quality assurance.
  5. Improve your writing with Peer Coaching
  6. Revising Your Paper” University of Washington

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.