If you have been teaching face-to-face for many years and want to make the transition to virtual education but do not know how to do it, in this blog we will talk about some useful tips to encourage you to make the change.
Why make the transition from face-to-face education to online education?
Year after year online education has been increasing in popularity. The last generations have grown up with technology, so virtual education adapts perfectly to their lifestyle. Always on the go, practical and connected.
To accommodate student preference and needs, educational institutions have found it necessary to create an online presence.
A recent study of online education in Mexico revealed that 45% of students prefer an online study modality and only 18% prefer face-to-face. Among the most important reasons is cost and time.
It is important to note that online education is being adopted and very well received not only by educational institutions but also by companies.
In Latin America e-Learning is having a significant demand because it offers the opportunity to have centralized education in a place available 24 hours a day on a dynamic and interactive platform.
The student in Latin America is finding multiple advantages in online education:
- Virtual reality and augmented reality
- Responsive technology (the possibility of viewing the course on any device)
- lower cost
- Constant communication and feedback
- Greater autonomy and responsibility to the student
- Less investment of time
- Virtual education gives the student the opportunity to access an education that previously, due to geographical or economic limitations, was not possible. An education that is accessible at any time and place and with a device that they have almost all the time at hand.
- Although it is true that there is a population that still prefers face-to-face education, they can also benefit from mixed courses that are a combination of face-to-face and virtual modalities and that meet the needs and tastes of the majority.
- So if you’ve already made up your mind, here are some tips on how to make the transition from face-to-face education to virtual education.
- Tips for making the transition from face-to-face education to online education
- We are going to start assuming that the educational institution or company where you work already has an LMS and you must prepare the content of your face-to-face course to start teaching virtual classes.
Avoid transferring your face-to-face content to the virtual platform
This is the most common mistake when a newbie starts to experiment with online education.
When you already have your face-to-face course, you would only like to be able to copy it to an online platform, but that is not the case.
Online education is different in the organization, design and distribution of content. The teaching methodology is different from face-to-face.
It does not mean that you cannot use your content for virtual education. It means that you will have to adapt and redesign it for online dynamics.
In virtual education you will have other opportunities and different tools at your disposal.
Remember that in the virtual environment you must compete for attention, time and space on the screen. Your audience learns along the way and their time and concentration are limited.
In virtual education, students have greater control over the content and how they work on it and must take responsibility and practice autonomy, reflection and reasoning.
After all, what you apply online you couldn’t replicate in a face-to-face class either. Each one has its methodologies and materials so that they work properly.
Here you can read about the content: Tips for working virtual courses with content experts
And here you can read about the different instructional models you can use Instructional Design Models you should know
With this in mind, let’s go to the first step;
Prepare a template and plan your entire course
Start by reviewing the content. Online content should be dynamic, short, visually appealing, thought-provoking and especially practical.
Do not try to put in your virtual course all the content or text of the classroom. Here you must choose what is essential to know and what is aligned with the objectives.
Start by listing your overall goals and unit goals. Define how many units are needed and how many screens per unit you are going to design.
Be sure to align the course objectives with the objectives of each unit and pay special attention when designing the activities so that they lead to the fulfillment of the objectives.
Review the face-to-face content and determine what part of that content is useful to you and what media you can use; text, video, audio, simulations, troubleshooting, websites, etc.
Your complete course must already be planned when you go to launch it.
Define a graphic line
Remember that the visual part in virtual courses is essential.
The image of your course will initially determine whether students stay in it or look for more attractive options.
Nobody wants to see a virtual course that has screen after screen of text, your course must be attractive, clean, easy to navigate and intuitive.
Use titles, subtitles and colored text boxes to make navigation easier and more attractive. Define colors that go according to your brand.
What do you do in a face-to-face class to maintain attention and participation? Generally you do activities that invite collaboration and contribution.
Online there are many tools to maintain attention and interactivity even when students are not face to face.
Use tools for students to work collaboratively. Don’t forget to create forums, chats, Facebook groups and gamification to maintain group dynamics, connection and interaction.
If you don’t have the time and/or budget to make your own videos, you can use educational videos that complement your course, although always in moderation and according to your goals and planning.
Use different types of evaluation
Don’t think that the only way to take assessments online is through multiple choice quizzes.
Assessments can be used for various purposes; to practice, to learn or to evaluate.
It uses various forms of response, uses gamification, online discussions and works with rubrics.
Remember that the best way to measure what you have learned is through practice.
It includes challenge-based learning and problem solving and invites constant practice.
The advantage of virtual courses is that the available tools offer you many opportunities to put what you have learned into practice, creating a magazine, a video, a podcast or a game.
These are some of the main steps that will help you in the transition from face-to-face to virtual mode, but there are some other tips that I want to give you.
Don’t forget to maintain a strong virtual presence. Interact with your students through chats or forums, offer feedback, answer their questions and include live video conferences to meet and interact.
Remember that one of the main advantages of online education is the possibility of personalizing the education. You can offer additional material to those who need it or allow the advanced student to move on to the next unit or investigate a topic in greater depth.
Always ask for feedback at the end of the course so you can improve on the next edition.
Ideally, look for someone who has already made the transition to support you and accompany you in your first experience.
Finally, I recommend you take an online course so that you become familiar with the dynamics and have the opportunity to be on the other side of the virtual course.